Ranchlands – Chico Tote Review

Check for it here (Customizable!):  Chico Tote

Ranchlands Chico Tote, the Full Review!


I had so much fun carrying this tote! Part of that is it’s just a REALLY well made bag.  The other part of that is it’s part of bigger story about Ranchlands, caretakers of land and animals who make an effort to educate the community and preserve the ecosystems that make up their ranches.  It’s a bag I just feel good about carrying.

The tote itself is one of the heartiest bags I own.   The leather is thick and this bag is gonna be around for a lifetime.  The craftsmanship just shines through – reinforced corners, rounded edges, thick straps, a peek of suede on the exterior pocket.  All finishes that most leather bags don’t bother with.  It’s a good size and can carry all my needs for work or for weekend.  The best part of the bag is even when it’s full, I can see just about everything inside.  It’s got a wide bottom and it’s fairly structured with a wide opening.  This means everything stays exactly where I packed it (vs. everything falling in on itself when the bag is floppy).  With thick leather and a good sized bag packed full, that means some weight.  The weight of the bag is distributed nicely with the wide, thick handles so I don’t notice the weight.  I carried this at length on two (2) separate occasions and no issues!  The handles are also unlined so the handles stay put on your shoulder.

What’s customizable about this bag?  You can add your initials to it!


Exterior – The exterior is simple and clean.  It’s got one full length pocket that’s fairly snug / tight to the bag.  It’s perfect for something with a slim profile (think your tablet and your phone, both could fit easily). The only hint of branding is their signature diamond imprinted into the bottom right corner of the exterior pocket.

Interior – The best part of this bag is the visibility.  Opening is wide, bag is structured and it really just allows for easy access of your things.  There is a single divided pocket on one side that also runs the full length (but is not full height).  I LOVE that they did not divide this pocket in half; it’s more like 1/3 and 2/3.  The phone is perfect for the 1/3 side and the other side can house a tablet, slim wallet, etc.  There is no key fob in this bag.  This doesn’t bother me at all because I bought a fish hook key chain that perfectly hangs off the interior pocket and takes no room at all.  At first I thought the leather on the pocket was too thick, but it’s not.  You just need to push the leather against the back of the fish hook and then it slides right over.  I actually started keeping my keys like this on other bags, too.  It’s better than the key fob because it doesn’t require any clasping / opening of a dog leash.  Plus, my keys stay within easy reach and I can put them anywhere along the length of the pocket so they aren’t hidden behind something.

The second best part of this bag is the sheer volume of stuff it can hold and still feel very organized because it’s structured.  It’s only 13″ X 13″, but in Alice in Wonderland style, it can (easily) hold my:

  • Laptop
  • Laptop Cord
  • Fat Wallet
  • Skinny Wallet
  • Essential Oils Pouch (I keep lotion, chapstick, etc. in here)
  • Hard Sided Sunglasses Case
  • Hard Sided Glasses Case
  • Band Aid Holder
  • Keys
  • Phone
  • Tablet


This is my favorite go-to tote now!  It just makes me happy to carry it and think about their story.  I have only two (2) small items on my wishlist for the next iteration of this bag:

  1. All three pockets are open.  The two (2) interior pockets are fine because they’re inside the bag so I think that alone provides a decent amount of security. They’re also pretty far down (vs. having the pocket opening close to the top of the bag) so I feel like things in the pocket can’t fall out or sticky fingers can’t get in.  That said, I’d like to have at least one pocket with some security so I’d love to see a magnet (or some other type) closure on the exterior pocket.
  2. The interior divided pocket is a bit shallow for me.   I’d love to see the pockets a little bit deeper so 90% of my phone is covered.  I think it’s fine to have a bit of your phone poking out the top of the pocket as it makes retrieving it easier.  This would also help if you choose to carry your tablet on the interior pocket since those can be pretty tall.


Ranchlands, please make a purse / handbag with this amazing leather.  I’d love to see one that’s about 8 X 11 with those gorgeous handles so I have something to take with me on nights out when I’m carrying just the essentials.





FTC Disclaimer:  This bag was sent to me for my review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Ranchlands Chico Tote, an Unboxing

Check for it here (Customizable!):  Chico Tote

Ranchlands Chico Tote, an Unboxing!


Hey Guys!

Sorry I’ve been away for  so long…life has been keeping my busy in the best way possible. Work is a challenge, but I’m glad to be a part of a great team.  My kiddo’s getting older (sniff, sniff) and so we’re exploring all sorts of new things together to see what interests her.  As for me, I’ve recently become super excited about NON city stuff. I’ve always had this insanely urban existence – think, it doesn’t even get dark at night because there’s just so many city lights that even night has a permanent soft glow.  For some reason, a few recent trips have really sparked my interest in more rural / country / nature type existences.

Today’s unboxing is an offshoot of my newfound interest in everything NON city.    I think it’s my own personal City Slickers moment (if that dates me, great because I’m loving this age).   Enter….Ranchlands.  They have the most thoughtful website and I’ve literally spent a few hours poring over it and reading about their connections to the land, how they’re caretakers of it and stewards of the animals.  Honestly, I’ve also secretly thought – how can I talk my husband into a working ranch vacation in the country side of Colorado?!  I’ve got to go.  Soon.

So, how do you get from a working ranch to a leather artisan? Aside from the literal access to cows, I thought they had the most thoughtful answer to this question – – they want to bridge the gap between urban settings and their connection to the land.  After my trip to Tennessee and then The Ranch in Laguna Beach, I really just want to spend more time outdoors and experience the land so this is like the mother ship calling me home.    Long story short, they have bridged the gap. In the search for the perfect bag, I’ve inadvertently learned about their ranching, and more importantly, their larger mission for education and conversation.  

I continue to try to be more a conscious consumer by knowing who made my bags and where they were made.  I watched the video on Madi Hester carefully crafting her leather pieces and I was sold on them.   So, here I am unboxing their Chico Tote in two – tone black.  I came home last night and it was waiting for me.  I did the unboxing video the same night and took the bag with me today – – it’s that alluring.  I’ve already gotten a bunch of compliments on it…. it’s just that kind of bag. It’s a thoughtful, unique design with lots of finishing touches that I haven’t come across before.   Can’t wait to do the video with my full review!  Fingers crossed that I’ll find myself in Colorado at Ranchlands starring in my very own City Slickers.  Cheers Ranchlands; thanks for taking care of our land.



FTC Disclaimer:  This bag was sent to me for my review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

The Leather Shop Adjustable Tote

Check for it here (Customizable!):  Adjustable Tote

The Leather Shop Adjustable Tote, an Unboxing!

Ok, fellow leather crazies….it’s been a while since I posted, my apologies!  I have been busy traveling, doing videos (and videos and videos) and keeping busy working out.  Anyways, I’m glad to be back on the website and this leather tote is the perfect excuse to do a little article.   Plus, I got some great questions and comments from my Facebook group and YouTube subscribers that I wanted to address here.

Here’s what I’m loving so far about this adjustable Leather Tote!

1. Very thoughtful design – It’s got two (2) options for carry and the shorter straps fold perfectly into a square shape to lay flat on the interior of the bag, taking up no room.   I did the unboxing video at the end of the long day and, although I had the thought that maybe those suddenly square handles could transform, I didn’t give it a shot.  Luckily, one of my fellow FB group members was kind enough to point this out.  In addition to the clever handles, it’s got pockets on all four (4) sides of the interior of the bag, not to mention the two side pockets on the exterior.  Talk about organized!  I’m running out of excuses on why my bag gets so messy.

2. Customization – You can alter the height, the width, add a cross body carry strap, add feet to the bottom, customize the color (or three!).  There’s not too many leather artisans that give you this kind of leeway. I previously commented that I wasn’t crazy about the idea of a magnet closure and Ken suggested the snap closure instead – great solution!

3.  Uptown – This feels like the uptown version of a lot of my other work bags that are more velvety in nature since the leather is more polished / smooth.  Granted, the colors I chose are whimsical, but I’ve seen it in all black w red straps or very dark tan with black straps and I think any of those color combos would fit right in at even the stuffiest of offices.

Lastly, I had someone ask for measurements and I thought, sure, I can tell you the measurements, but we know the “exact” measurement of a leather bag can be a bit controversial so I thought I’d just show you instead and let you see for yourself.    There’s no exact measurements – are you talking about the interior, the exterior, the bag when it’s empty (or full), etc.  Long story short, I decided to capture pics of the measurements that I would want to know.  Apologies for the crooked tape measure, my arm was getting exhausted holding the bag and tape measure out there.  Fear not, however!  I literally ran out to the mall and bought this silly thing (you’ll see it in the next video!) to help with measurements for when I do the full review so they’ll be more even.  Without further ado – the measurements!

I measured just the front panel length at the top of the bag (12″).  Reason being, to me this is the true length of the bag since the leather on the sides is meant to be for depth, rather than adding to the length.  Although, as you can see, it’s not 100% structured, so you do gain a bit of room because of this….

Hence, why I also chose to measure the full length of the bag, meaning edge to edge, including whatever portions of the side depth are naturally visible from the front.  This measures 16″.   Although it looks like the left corner is not anchored, that’s just an optical illusion.

I wanted to also measure the true length at the bottom of the bag, which is often different from the top in a tote.  Here, the front panel measures 13″, 1″ wider than at the top…just perfect for my laptop!

This measurement is the full length of the bottom of the bag, including whatever portions of the side leather naturally are visible from the front, since it does add to the width.  This measures about 14″.  Keep in mind, the bottom of the bag joins the side of the bag at an angle so the lower you go, the smaller the measurement gets.

This is the “resting width” (totally made that up, but sounds appropriate) of the bag – – meaning, with the bag empty, how wide does it expand when you’re just holding the bag?  That’s about 3″.

I also wanted to measure what I consider to be the full width of the bag, which, to me, is the width of the bottom panel.  That comes in at about 5″.  The bag was “smooshed” (again, another very technical term) for packing purposes so I had to push out the crease with my hand to take this measurement.  My guess is that after some use, this measurement will expand to 6″ once the crease is fully ironed out.

Lastly, the drop length and the height of the bag are bag basics, so not to be forgotten! The drop length is a very comfortable 13″ and the height of the bag (not including the brown part that’s technically the bottom, though visible from the front) is 11.5″.

FTC Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.

Rugged Material Mommie Daughter Combo Unboxing

Check for it here (Lightweight Leather Totes!):  Mommie Daughter Combo

Use this link and get 15% off your first purchase when you spend over $50 – http://prz.io/bmznRrhv

Mommie Daughter Combo Classic Leather Tote, an Unboxing!

I discovered Rugged Material when someone posted a link to their Cord Keeper – get it for free (you pay shipping and handling) if you watch a video about their philosophy.  That video did just the trick!  Rugged Material is the type of company I want to support – American made, hand made and a respect for making things that last, not just last, but they’re guaranteed for life.  Tyler’s story is a good one and I don’t want to attempt to paraphrase, but read it here for yourself…it’s the kind of passion that makes for a good story and a good story makes for a great company.

Here’s what I’m loving so far about this Mommie / Daughter combo:

1. It’s original!  I love that somebody did matching full size and mini bags…hilarious to me that it came from a man’s company (I would’ve thought a woman would have thought of this first), but hey, why not?  I’m not so matchy matchy with my daughter (we’re not wearing the same clothes), but this is a fun and sophisticated way to coordinate with your kiddo!

2. The proportions and specs of the full purse – flawless.  I’m on the petite side (5’2″) and realize that some of my bags just don’t look appropriate on me.  This bag still has the full sizing (i.e., I can fit my laptop, wallet, cords, keys, phone, etc.), but the shorter drop and the clean exterior (no pockets, no cross-body strap, etc.) make it look proportional on me.  Since it’s still a full size purse, I think this would still look great on taller women as well.

3.  The LIGHT weight  – finally! I carry obscene amounts of things in my purses.  Seriously, I am so hard on my bags I’m going to give you a run for your money with that Guaranteed-for-Life thing.  That said, I appreciate that the bag itself isn’t adding to the weight…maybe I need to think about carrying less stuff, but I’ll save that for another day.

4.  The Daughter / Lunch Purse – Okay, there’s a chance I might need to order another one so my kiddo can actually use hers.  I “borrowed” it for our trip to the park today and it was the perfect lightweight carry for my keys, phone and slim wallet.  It’s the smallest tote I’ve ever seen and frankly, it’s adorable!

Use this link and get 15% off your first purchase when you spend over $50 – http://prz.io/bmznRrhv

FTC Disclaimer: Rugged Material sent me these bags for review, but I was not compensated for my opinions. The opinions are my own and I specifically chose these bags to review.

Guideboat French Plumber Bag, an Unboxing

Check for it here (Medium Size Beauty):  French Plumber Bag

Guideboat French Plumber Bag, an Unboxing!

The Guideboat philosophy is everything wonderful about Northern California!  It’s the water, the lifestyle, the respect for thoughtfully made goods and all things “authentic, honest and long lasting”.  How have they stayed off my radar for so long?  I’m loving their website and one day soon, I’ll figure out exactly what it means to “Ply the Water!”.  Till then, I’ll have fun exploring this little medium sized beauty.  First impressions – a stylish, comfortable carry!  This bag has something unique – and let’s be honest, I’ve reviewed enough purses to know when something’s unique!  Check out the removable interior, zipper pouch…they’ve thought of just about everything.  Plus, who goes the extra mile to put a shoulder pad on a medium size bag – thank you to whoever understands we sometimes pack waaay too much into a modest size bag! Looking forward to test driving this beauty and am figuring out where to go, who to see and what to do this week so she can come along!  Cheer to Northern California* and to home and to all things made to last.

*Disclaimer – I have a soft spot for the Northern California lifestyle; it is home after all!  Where else can you do a trail like the Dipsea where you’re certain that you can’t take even one more step and then someone comes up with the Double Dipsea!  If you’re a crazy hiker or wish you were, Northern California is some of the best.

Love 41 Wanderers Backpack Review

Check for it here (A full size backpack that’s comfortable!):  Love 41 Wanderer’s Backpack!

Wanderer’s Backpack

It took me FOREVER to do this video!  Why?  Because I was struggling to find suggestions for Version 2.0 of this bag and, you know, I always have suggestions for improvement.  This bag gave me a run for my money, it’s just about perfect the way it is!  Here’s what I love about this bag:

  • Comfort – Despite being a full size bag, it still manages to be a comfortable wear.  They’ve added padding to the straps, the straps are just the right thickness and don’t slide off whether the bag is full or empty.  Additionally, even if it’s empty, it still retains it shape, making for a comfortable wear because the leather is juuuust right.
  • Security – This is really the main feature of this bag!  Each opening has two options for closure – the zipper and a strap secured by a nipple rivet closure  If you don’t need that kind of security, just secure the strap to the nipple rivet closure, but leave the flap hanging and then you just need to work with the zipper.  Even the zipper placement on the main opening (bucket bag style), means that even if it’s fully open, nothing is falling out the sides the way it might if it was your traditional zipper opening on a backpack.
  • Hidden Pockets – Two hidden pockets lie behind the two side zippered pockets.  This means convenient access for phones, keys, hotel key cards or simple wallets.
  • Organization – The size pockets (both zippered and hidden) take care of easy access items (wallets, pouches, cords, etc.). The main interior pocket has another pocket that features an open area as well as a zippered area – perfect for your passport!
  • Size – I can fit their Saddleback 15″ laptop case in here!  This bag is big, but floppy enough that if you don’t stuff it to the gills, it sinks down a bit, the perfect mix of not quite floppy, not quite structured.  It looks just fine empty or nearly empty and how many backpacks can you say that about?

Version 2.0 Suggestions – Ok, there’s not much here, but here we go:

  • Shoulder straps length – This bag generously accommodates multiple heights and if you’re on the shorter side, the excess strap might dangle at the bottom.  Consider flipping the straps so the adjustment for length happens at the top so even if the excess length dangles, it’s not dangling past the bag and swinging around.  You can also add a nipple rivet to the strap so that you can secure any excess to the strap itself.
  • Open side pocket – This bag has plenty of options for keeping your items secure so why not sacrifice one zippered side pocket and substitute in an open pocket to hold your water bottle?

Really folks, that’s IT for suggestions and, you know, I usually have a ton of suggestions, even if I love the bag.   Aaah the wanderer’s backpack, this backpack is such a nice find!  I think you’re going to love it!


Colonel Littleton No 25 Drifter Handbag

Check for it here (Gorgeous!):  No. 25 Drifter Handbag

No. 25 Drifter Handbag!

I love the search for that elusive “perfect” mid sized purse.  I used to think there wasn’t one (see my Best of the Best Review where there was previously NO CONTENDER for this category), but after today’s unboxing I think the search might be over. I’ll need to test drive this beauty for the next few days before I can bestow such an honor, but first impressions are very positive, not just for the purse itself, but the thoughtful packaging.   Here’s the standouts:

  • Packaging – Purse is tucked into a sweet little pouch and they include a moon pie (!) along with two informative cards sharing their story and the handwritten name of the employee who inspected it.  They include a full catalog tucked into an envelope for safe keeping.  Everything about the packaging is thoughtful.
  • Rich buttery soft brown (almost mahogany / cherry) leather with lots of depth and variation in color.
  • Soft chocolate brown suede interior.
  • It hits in the perfect spot! Almost all my purses are too long (granted some might say I’m too short…), but this one hits at just the right place and somehow it can also be worn cross body (maybe not if you’re tall, though).
  • Easy access front pockets are just perfect for keys and phone.
  • Customer service – I’ve read about their rave reviews on Facebook and then I witnessed it first hand.  What can I say?  They’re courteous and responsive.  Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is…this is a rare combination.
  • Personal Touch – Not a mass produced item.  It shines through in their packaging, their motto (“The Important Things in Life – Good Friends, Good Health & Peace of Mind) and the quality of their product.  This is the retail equivalent of “Farm to Table”.  This is “Creator to Consumer”.  I love being close to the designer, the producer and not part of a huge machine of middlemen.