Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Vera Bradley Iconic Line Review

In the not too distant past, many Vera Bradley fans were upset when Vera Bradley took away the pretty interior patterns of bags and replaced them with solid interiors, myself included. You can find a couple of videos where I’ve jumped on my soap box about this issue. Vera Bradley needed some tough love, bring back the patterned interiors! Yes, the new lining was easier to clean, but it was drab. I expected the solid linings in their MFO (made for outlet) line, but their regular line was also changed.
Happily, Vera Bradley listened and brought back the interior patterns in their new Iconic line. They tout the new line on their website as “classic cotton and microfiber silhouettes you know and love, refreshed for a modern feel.” To me that means they have the classic features, hence the “iconic,” but did make some updates. Ok, I can possibly roll with that. Here’s my take on the updates:
Great Features
Interior patterns – Yey! Now we have our pretty interiors back, and they are easier to clean than the fabric interiors. I can now wipe down the interiors of my bags, essential with crumbs and Lord know what else my kids stick in my bags.

Smaller diamond stitching – I love this update. The diamond stitching is signature Vera Bradley. I think the smaller diamonds give the bags a sleeker look. Plus, I’ve noticed the smaller diamonds line up better than the older larger diamonds. There are fewer overlapping intersections.

Changes to zipper pulls – The faux leather zipper pulls are much easier to keep clean than the old ribbon ones. Those ribbons could get really grungy. Also, the ribbons were easier to take off and come off. I have several bags with missing ribbon zipper pulls. These new zipper pulls are here to stay.

Charger pocket – While I haven’t needed the charger pocket, it is nice to have. You can put your portable cell phone charger in the gusseted charger pocket, feed the cord through the metal grommet, and charge your cell phone in your bag.

Not So Great Features
Quality of lining quilting – While I’m glad the interior patterns are back; the interiors are not quilted and are loose. The pockets in my Vera Tote are really loose. Plus, when the bags are washed, the interior fabric rips easier. I have heard complaints of the larger Iconic bags, like the Vera Tote not keeping its structure and becoming floppy. I wonder if the lack of additional quilting on the inside affects this?

Sharp metal zippers – These new metal zippers are sharp! I’ve scraped my fingers on my bags several times. Perhaps the metal zippers are higher quality that the old ones, but I didn’t really have a problem with them. I hope Vera Bradley finds a way to make these zippers less sharp.

No border – How do you have an “iconic” line without the border?? The border is part of Vera Bradley’s history. It represented the wall paper business the co-founders ran and helped inspire them to start Vera Bradley. While I do like the look of the Iconic line, I’m sad to see that feature go.

Higher priced – I don’t know the cause of the higher prices. Did cotton prices increase? The cost of the changes made the increase? I don’t believe this is all about greed, as some have suggested. After all Vera Bradley is a corporation and they have to turn a profit to stay afloat. But it definitely hurts the wallet when there is a $10 increase across the line. All the more reason to wait for sales, pattern retirement, and coupons to make this line more affordable.

It appears that the Iconic line is here to stay. With a few tweaks, I think the line could be great for Vera Bradley. I’m excited to see new materials in the line, like the new powder-touch nylon (helloooo Cardinal Red!!). I know that Vera Bradley listens to their customers, I’ve witnessed it first-hand. You can check out the videos I will be releasing soon about the Iconic Triple Zip Hipster and Vera Tote. Let me know what your thoughts are about the Iconic line.

Friday, December 8, 2017

My Vera Bradley Wishlist for Christmas



Dear Santa,
I have been really good this year! It stands as testament alone that all three of my kids (especially my youngest) are still alive and in good working condition as proof of my infinite patience. I promise to leave you really tasty Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies, and even guard them from my late-night-snack-eating-husband. I may have not mixed the ingredients of said cookies, but I trudged through 4” of snow in 18 degree weather (before windchill) with a two year old all the way to Walmart and back to be able to bake them. That said, I only want a few Vera Bradley items under the tree, please.
  1. Cozy Life Throw in Playful Penguins Red – you should really get one of these Santa, the red would go nicely with your Christmas d├ęcor and it’s super warm for those chilly North Pole nights with the Sherpa underside.

  1. Mallory RFID Custom Crossbody in Sycamore Silver Galaxy – it’s just so sparkly! Perfect for festive New Year’s parties, but also with an interchangeable black side for those serious occasions. You know, like a mullet, business in the front, party in the back. Not to mention, it will help keep those on your naughty list from stealing my credit card information.


  1. Carson Shoulder Bag in Bittersweet Chocolate – I know what you’re thinking Santa, “Stacy you already have several Carson Shoulder Bags!” But, dear Santa, those are fabric bags. I need one in leather! That warm shade of brown is perfect for me. I know it’s the most expensive item on my list, but once you feel that leather softness, you’ll want to get one for Mrs. Claus, too.


  1. Carson Hobo Bag in Chocolate Raisin – Oh dear Santa, this bag is made in soft velvet! I hope you don’t waste too much time petting it before you put it under the tree. You can always come back to visit it on your days off. Like the Carson Shoulder Bag, it can be worn as a crossbody or as a shoulder bag. Surely as someone so well known for carrying heavy bag, you can appreciate the need for wearing it both ways.
Silly me Santa! I forgot that I took advantage of Vera Bradley’s amazing 30% off your entire order sale, stacked my $30 off $125 coupons, and got free shipping on all of these items already! Well, scratch those four items and I’ll replace them with just one item. I think that’s quite fair. Please send me Bryan Adams wrapped with a bow so he can serenade me to sleep every night.
Yours Truly,

Stacy


Vera Bradley Designs, Inc.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ode to the Carson

As you may know, the new love in my life is the Carson Shoulder Bag. Don't let the name fool you, this is also a crossbody bag. I've been carrying the Carson for a few weeks. Shamelessly, I went from zero Carsons to six withing a few weeks (Lilac Medallion, Cactus Green, Hawthorn Rose, Charcoal, Heirloom Paisley, and Winter Berry) Without further ado, here are the pros and cons of this new bag by Vera Bradley:


Pros


  1. Like the Saddle Up – Yes! I have been waiting YEARS for Vera Bradley to make a bag similar to the Saddle Up! I have tried other brands but this one is the closest to the older Saddle Up yet. When I threw it on, all loaded up, my body had an “Ahhhh” moment. I missed carrying that weight at my side like I did the Saddle Up.


  1. Pocket Organization – The Carson has two front pockets, under the flap, a large back exterior pocket, and the interior has a zippered and two slip-in pockets. Again, much like the Saddle Up! I knew right where to put my phone and keys, and no worries about them falling out.


  1. Roomy – Overall this is a roomy bag! I consider it medium sized. I can comfortably put a full size packet of wipes, a diaper, a few toys and snacks, and still have room for my wallet, keys, and phone.


  1. Detachable Straps – As you guys know, I don't like bag that are convertible crossbodies. I don't like wearing a bag cross body and then having the handles flop around and get in the way. Both the shoulder strap and the crossbody strap are detachable.


  1. Interior Lining – Hello gorgeous interior lining! Long time no see! Wow! It's also nylon, which is fine since it's easier to clean. The lining material change didn't bother me, the lack of interior pattern bothered me. This bag is as beautiful inside as it is outside. Both patterns make me happy!


  1. Holds Its Shape – Despite not having a sturdy base, the Carson holds its shape nicely and stands up on its own with only a few things in it. I've seen complaints that the Carson doesn't hold its shape and bends easily, but I don't find that to be true.


  1. Back Magnet – The hidden magnet on the back of the purse, to close the slip-in exterior pocket, is strong! I have attached silverware to it easily. However, since it's strong, it keeps whatever is in the pocket in place. It's a great second place to carry your cell phone. I have even put my cell phone in it vertically, turned the bag upside down, shook it, and the phone didn't even come close to falling out!


Cons
    1. Front Magnet – As much as I like the back magnet, I don't care for the front magnet under the flap as much. I wish it was hidden, instead of being attached to the faux leather strap. I am careful how I open the flap, otherwise it could tear the fabric. That said, I haven't had any issues, but others have.


      1. Shoulder Strap – I love the crossbody strap, I hate the shoulder strap. It's nylon and short; it has a short strap drop. That could deter plus-sized ladies in carrying it. It does slip off my shoulder easily. I have purchased a couple of the embellished straps and will try these to alleviate the problem. There are occasions where crossbody wear is too casual, I really want the Carson to also work as a shoulder bag.


      1. Cactus Green Straps – The Cactus Green Carson Shoulder Bag is gorgeous and a higher price point that the fabric and microfiber ones. The material is waxed cotton and it does have more a upscale front that the others. So naturally I expected the straps to be more upscale. Wrong. Both the crossbody and shoulder strap are nylon! I purchased the black embellished strap (the beaded one) to make the bag look more upscale. I pray the beads are sturdy!


      1. Sharp Zipper – The Carson Shoulder Bag's only zipper is sturdy, but sharp. I've scraped my fingers on it several times, usually when I'm in a hurry and blindly grabbing whatever I need in the bag. I do like the look of the zipper, but be careful!


Even with these few complaints, I love this bag. I want to get other patterns in it in the future, especially when the pattern goes in retirement (here's looking at you Snow Lotus). If they make an appearance at the Annual Sale, I'd like to get it in Denim, Navy, and Black, too. I hope in the future Vera Bradley makes it in the Lighten Up material. Many of my Vera Bradley friends love the Carson too, so hopefully it stays around for a long time! Please, Vera Bradley gods, keep this style around longer than the Saddle Up!


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fort Wayne: Home Sweet Home

They're Here: Limited edition DHC x Sanrio products! While supplies last.
If you haven't heard by now, I'm moving back to Fort Wayne in a few months!! We have been trying to get back to Indiana for seven years, ever since my husband's job transferred us to San Diego. Don't get me wrong, I loved San Diego and North Dakota has been good to us (minus the winters). We have made a lot of friends and gave our children experiences we never could have if we had stayed put in Indiana. I only wish my younger two kids would have been old enough to remember them.


We've been strategically moving back from the West Coast with a pit stop in North Dakota. The plan was to be transferred to Indianapolis in the summer of 2018. I love Indianapolis and we have a lot of friends there. Plus it's halfway between my family in southern Indiana and my husband's family in Fort Wayne. However, my husband's ideal position within his company popped up about a month ago and he was eligible for the transfer. We had to make a quick decision, in about 48 hours, to decide if he should put in for it. We decided to go for it, thinking it probably wouldn't happen since he was 13th in line for the job and it's based on seniority. The position closed on Thursday and he got the call on Friday. When the transfer unit calls, you have to tell them right then and there a yes or no. 12 people had said no in less than 24 hours. My husband said yes.


I have mentioned a few times over the years that I would love to move back to Fort Wayne. I love Fort Wayne. It feels like home, the right fit. Even after four years in California I was still awed and amazed that we lived in California. I felt like a fish out of water. My husband would always tell me not to get my hopes up, Fort Wayne was a slim to no chance.


So now we are scrambling to sell our well-loved North Dakota home. We bought a fixer upper and still had major projects to get done. But they are done now! (Hence the lack of blogging and videos, sorry.) The house is spotless and ready to sell. When we move is determined by when the house sells. I'm prepared to wait, selling a home in North Dakota this close to winter could take a while. I pray we don't have the snow and cold like last winter. I think we had four blizzards? I lost count. Not a single snow day for the kids, though! Yes, they raise them tough here in ND, it has to be -10 degrees to not have outdoor recess! I remember this past March dropping off and picking my kids up in a blizzard with Category 2 winds. That was fun.


I scour the homes in Fort Wayne now. I'm embarrassed to say how much I check the Realtor.com app! We get a 10 day house hunting trip, and this time we are not only moving to a state we've been to, but I also won't be buying a home at 35 weeks pregnant (and no hope of that happening, that ship has long since sailed). We know the couple of areas we'd like to be in and are really happy to be close to family again. Even now the five hour car ride to my family is nothing compared to the days of travel to see them that we used to experience.

I look forward to doing some new things with my videos and this blog. I look forward to not only trying new things, but also going back into more depth with my beloved Vera Bradley. I can attend their local events again, live at the annual sale to help you all out, and reconnect with the wonderful employees at the flagship store in Jefferson Pointe. I also look forward to seeing more vintage Vera Bradley around Fort Wayne! Stay tuned, folks, it's going to be fun ride!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Vera Bradley Online Outlet Shopping Experience

Did you get to shop the newest way to buy Vera Bradley? Their new online outlet website? If you're signed up for Vera Bradley emails, you should have received an email the day before they launched their new discount website. It's almost exactly the same as shopping the occasional Coach online discounted prices.


I didn't think I was going to get to shop it, I thought the website opened up on the morning of October 17th and I had a jammed packed morning that I couldn't escape from. But to my pleasant surprise, and to my husband's dismay, the website launched at midnight of the 17th, which is 11:00 PM on the 16th my time. So I got to shop ASAP, which is good because there were limited quantities and things were selling out fast. Since we are moving soon, I refrained from the throws, but holy cow they were only $13.40 each!!!


I thought it was a great and easy shopping experience. I'll confess I tried to use my birthday coupon, but it wasn't accepted. I didn't think it would be, but it didn't hurt to try! My new love, the Lighten Up Slim Crossbody, was only $16.80! Ugh, I wish this wasn't being discontinued, but since it is, I got both Kiev Paisley and Lilac Tapestry to last me through next Spring.


I also stocked up on jewelry. I've seen it better priced in the past, but it still wasn't bad. I bought several pairs of earrings for only $7.84, and necklaces for around $10 apiece. If you haven't tried to their jewelry line, you should. I won't buy it at full price, but they are pretty good deals when on sale and at the annual sale in Fort Wayne. I wear their jewelry a lot and never have had a single defective piece. I get lots of compliments.


Only a few days later I received shipping confirmation, so I am anxiously awaiting my package. Of course, another haul video will be done to show off my new purchases! I was dismayed that a pair of earrings, the one pair my Mom wanted, was out of stock and didn't ship. My order was placed about an hour after the sale opened, so they must have had very very few of the signature gold dangle earrings. I would have gone back for more, but I also have my birthday coupon to use, so I held back.

So is this new shopping experience replacing Vbay (Vera Bradley's online eBay store)? Or are they trying to clear out clearance items since they announce they are trying to get away from clearance prices? Or are they expanding the annual sale experience from Fort Wayne to the rest of the country? I will try to find out, but I'll tell you what, I hope they have this online outlet again! (Yes I've signed up for their text alerts.)

Friday, October 20, 2017

My Vera Birthday Surprise!

October is a happy month for me, I love Fall and my birthday is in October! I get to binge buy Vera Bradley with my birthday coupon! October is a great month to have a birthday when it comes to Vera Bradley; they normally have a great sale AND a new release in October. As you may recall, I made my wish list with a little trepidation, since we are moving sometime in the next few months. We are almost done with purging in order to sell our house, so I'm trying to be good. HAHAHAHAHA

My wish list video
was released a month ago, and I posted a related article in my blog. The Friday after my video was released, I received an email from VERA BRADLEY HQ saying happy birthday, glad to hear you are moving back to Fort Wayne, and to expect a package from them in the mail! I was elated! I quickly wrote back a thank you response. I had to wait the whole weekend to find out what goodies they sent me. Normally I'd be pacing and wondering, I'm not a patient person. However, we had a very busy weekend, so I was able to be distracted.

On Monday my package arrived! Vera Bradley sent me a Get Carried Away Tote and an XL Throw in Painted Medallions! I was floored by their generosity, and now even more anxious to get back to Fort Wayne to shop their flagship store once again. I don't know if you know this, but Fort Wayne was recently voted the Most Affordable City in the US. Our cost of living is about to go down, sooo maybe I'll be buying a little more Vera Bradley in the future? Why did I make that a question?

I already have the Lighten Up Small Backpack in Painted Medallions and I love the pattern. It has a very southwest feel to it. I love that the XL Throw in Painted Medallions has a navy background instead of gray. It's very striking with the complementary jewel tones.

So two items are crossed off my wish list, and I've yet to use my birthday coupon. I want the Carson bag for sure, but I don't know what pattern I want. I'm a sucker for purple and I love the new Lilac Medallion pattern out. (I just realized Vera Bradley likes to use the word “Medallion” in a lot of their pattern names.) Heirloom Paisley and Winter Berry are also calling my name. Maybe I'll get something in each pattern? I'm not matchy-matchy with my patterns, I love to mix it up and celebrate all the bright colors and patterns. Decisions, decisions!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fall 2017 Vera Bradley Items I Can't Wait to Try!

Not surprising, I have my wish list for new Vera Bradley items made out. I think there are some really exciting pieces out there now and I need them in my hot little hands! I'm trying so hard to behave, since we are moving in less than a year. We already need a storage unit to remove clutter and store some of my collection to show the house. There have been recent reports of storage unit break-ins, so it makes me very nervous to store my precious Vera Bradley collection outside of my home. I'm already planning on sending my Disney Limited Edition doll collection back with my in-laws, and I may do that with some of my Vera Bradley. That would alleviate my huge fear. Frankly, the furniture and clothing we need to store away I'm not too worried about. We make it a point to NOT get nice new furniture with little furniture-abusing kids, I wouldn't be surprised if the thieves shut the door right after opening it. ;) My guess is that my now-resolve will disappear in October when (hopefully) I receive my Vera Bradley birthday coupon. I've been known to do a lot of damage with my birthday coupon.


Here are my top five items I would love to have:


5. Get Carried Away Tote -I have one of these in Java Blue already. The reason I haven't shown you it in a YouTube video is because my orange cat claimed it as his and it's covered in fur. Unfortunately, he and our black cat both passed away in August, unexpectedly. I can't bring myself to clean it. So I need a new one!
4. XL Throw – I live up north, like NORTH north. We have super duper cold windy winters. We LOVE and LIVE in our XL throws at our house, all five of us. We are approaching our last winter in the tundra, and man both Mini Medallions and Ditsy Dot Stripe are calling my name, no begging me to take them home. However, they are a bit bulky, especially when I already have so many, so I'm trying to restrain myself.


3. Bedding – We are serial bedding abusers. I say we, but I really mean everyone else in my family but me. My kids are kids and my husband is a chronic late-night snacker (and does NOT have the gut to prove it, grrrr). My cats loved to lay on our bed, also adding to the bedding problem. So I never buy nice bedding. We have a king-sized bed, and until now Vera Bradley didn't make king-sized bedding. I really do need new bedding for our master bedroom, but what if I buy something that goes well with the current dark gray walls and then doesn't in the new house? That's the ONLY thought preventing me from buying Vera Bradley bedding. Well, that and I don't like moving bedding across the country. I prefer to get new with each move, it's just a quirk of mine. But, wow, that Vera Bradley bedding is GORGEOUS!


2. Midtown Belt Bag – Although I haven't done a video on them yet, you guys know I love my travel belt bags (yes, FANNIE PACKS). I love that Vera Bradley calls them Belt Bags, but they are FANNIE PACKS. The new Midtown Belt Bag is RFID protected, meaning that thieves can't steal your credit/debit card information off the chips in your cards. This Belt Bag is also made
of Preppy Poly, a waterproof material. I love my older travel belt bags, but the cloth ones were easily abused. I have several items in Preppy Poly and the fabric holds up pretty well. The third
and other huge plus to the new Belt Bag is that the waist strap can be extended to wear it
crossbody, making less of a FANNIE PACK.


  1. Carson Shoulder Bag – Not to be confused with the leather Carson Saddle Bag, which is entirely too small, I really would like a Carson Shoulder Bag in Heirloom Paisley. I've heard mixed reviews on it, but I love that the strap is interchangeable. I hate having both shoulder straps and crossbody straps on one bag. I know some ladies don't like the gold and silver hardware mixed with the interchangeable straps, but I don't mind it. I wear a mix of gold and silver jewelry all the time, I don't mind continuing that theme with my bag. Another reason I want one is that it reminds me of my beloved Saddle Up Bag, with the front flap and large back exterior pocket. I'm also in a limbo with my youngest. He doesn't need a diaper bag anymore, but he's still in diapers for probably another year (judging by when my oldest son potty-trained). I just need a bag that's big enough to hold my stuff, a small container of wipes, and a diaper. It looks like the Carson is big enough to do that? Man, I need a Vera Bradley store near me!!!