Mansur Gavriel Review: The Mini Mini Lady Bag

As I said before, I’m the Goldilocks of Mansur Gavriel Lady Bags. I started with the large (reviewed here, and no longer produced), then the regular (reviewed here), and then the mini (reviewed here). Well it’s been some time since I’ve purchased and reviewed an MG bag, but when I saw a friend carrying the mini mini Lady Bag I really wanted to try it out for myself. And luckily I found one on the RealReal where I had some leftover credit. Yay for buying used! And I especially love buying a used veg-tanned Cammello leather bag because it already has the patina of a loved bag. Of course there’s some scratches and marks on the bag but I love using my favorite leather milk to condition and revitalize the leather (and it’s especially fun to condition a bag when it’s already old and worn looking).

Mansur Gavriel Mini Mini Lady Bag Review

{Wearing: Only Child Alta top in black raw silk (reviewed here), Elizabeth Suzann Harlow Dress in silk (reviewed here), Mansur Gavriel Mini Mini Lady Bag, Martiniano Glove Shoes (reviewed here)}

So what do I think of the bag? I have to admit, I’m not sure I love it. The mini mini lady bag is quite small at 7" X 8.5" X 3.25" (for reference the mini lady bag is 9" x 10.5" x 3.5"), so it just fits my essentials (wallet, sunglasses, keys and phone). But since it’s so small, when I go to find my keys, I have to take at least one thing out to find the small stuff at the bottom. There’s not enough room to shuffle things out of the way to reach the bottom. Also the short handle strap is so small that it barely fits over my wrist. Sometimes I like to carry bags on my forearm, and that’s not really possible with this bag.

Mansur Gavriel Mini Mini Lady Bag Review

{Wearing in photo above Everlane denim chore jacket (c/o, review coming soon), Only Child Alta top in black raw silk (reviewed here), Linenfox wide linen pants (review coming soon), Mansur Gavriel Mini Mini Lady Bag, Everlane Boss Mules (reviewed here)}

However on the plus side, the mini mini works really well as a compact crossbody, and it doesn’t feel as awkward to carry it across my body as the larger lady bags. Also since it’s so small, there’s no chance of weighing the bag down with too much stuff. And it looks super cute. This would be a great casual going out bag!

I think I might have liked this bag more pre-baby. But as the baby gets older, I’m going to need to carry more and more things (snacks, toys, etc.) and I might not always want to carry a separate diaper bag. In those cases this bag is not a good fit. I also have similar feelings for my Celine nano belt bag, which used to be a favorite but I’m finding a bit too small these days. I do however like that I can hang both of these bags on the stroller by the top handle, and it’s easy to reach the compartments inside (just lift the flap). I find when I hang bags with two handle straps like the Everlane day tote mini or the Celine Soft Cube bag, I have to unhook one handle strap to be able to get to the inside of the bag.

how I really carry this bag most days

how I really carry this bag most days

 

Anyway I plan to keep this bag for a bit because despite some inconveniences I think it’s so cute! And since I’m trying to be mindful of the bags I accumulate, I’m doing a one-in-one-out policy and am selling the PB 0110 bag (reviewed here).

This girl is on firrreee: six months on FIRE

I had originally written this post over a month ago (before we purchased a home). So even though we’re not quite on the FIRE track, we’re still working on it. Anyway here is the original post:

(Lol, you know I’ve been just itching to make those FIRE puns). Anyway for those who aren’t familiar with FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early), it’s a movement to save money, put it towards investments, so that you have the financial freedom to do what you like (more about it here). You basically want to get to the point where your expenses are covered your passive income earned through interest of stock or rent collected on properties. I’m super grateful to have the privilege to work on my FIRE path. And a reader has asked what that looks like for me. Since I’ve only started 6 months ago (and this is a years-long or even decades-long plan) I’m very much still a newbie. There are many other experts out there who have achieved their FIRE number and right blogs about what it’s like for them.

The first step of our FIRE plan was to start tracking our expenses. We combined all our bank accounts and credit card statements under Mint so we could see where our money was going. My husband is the one organizing (ie categorizing expenses) and then he tells me how we’re doing. This is also the first time I’ve shared my accounts with him so now I’m much more careful what I spend my money on, knowing there’s going to be a second pair of eyes judging me (which is a good thing).

Also starting in December/January, we started to limit our expenses. The first thing we cut out was eating out. We used to eat out at least twice a week (and while we were running the Airstream business we would eat out twice a day about 6 times a week—crazy I know but we were busy running a business and we weren’t on FIRE). So February (before the baby came), was probably our lowest spend month ever in the history of us. Of course now with baby, we never eat out anymore. Though the temptation to get food delivery or takeout is high we resist, and we keep it to maybe one takeout a week if that (it has become a treat when we do). My husband brings lunch from home to work, even if that means a $3-4 burrito from Trader Joes (but it beats his at minimum $11 lunches he gets in downtown SF). I’ve also started clipping coupons for places we like to eat (like a BOGO for bagel sandwiches at Noah’s Bagels—such a good deal!), and that would be our treat meal out sometimes.

As for my blog expenses, I’m no longer just purchasing things willy nilly (though it may look like I still am acquiring a lot—but really this is me trying to be better). I’ve been buying a lot of things off of the RealReal when I want to try stuff (like the Martiniano shoes, kowtow romper, Chanel ballet flats, etc.). I sold off a bunch of things one month and instead of collecting a check, I decided to go with credit so I have revolving RealReal credit to try things. Also I’ve been selling things on eBay and have made my Paypal account a revolving credit account to try things for the blog. This also makes tracking expenses easier for my husband since he doesn’t constantly see an outgoing and incoming amount that’s not related to our daily life. I’m also tracking my blog expenses separately to make sure I’m not spending more than I’m earning.

And then we started investing our money into Vanguard Index funds. I’m no expert so I’m trying out several different index and mutual funds after reading up on them. So far they’re doing well but the market is currently down right now and we aren’t doing as well as they were. But of course that’s just how it goes with the stock market. If anything, now is the time to buy more (it’s on sale! lol).

It may sound like we’re only being frugal with the small stuff but that’s because we’ve gotten the big stuff luckily out of the way. No car payments with one really old car and one newer but used car. We’re both suuuuuper duper duper lucky not to have any college loans. We got really lucky also by being able to buy a house when we were young and then selling it when it was at a market high. Currently we’re living in an apartment but are looking to move back into a house. We’ll end up taking on some debt then but currently we are debt free. So yep, we’re focusing on the smaller savings now. But seriously all the small things add up. {Update: We purchased a house and are now in debt. We’re going to have to work extra hard in budgeting and keeping all other expenses low.}

Anyway if you’re new to the concept and want some practical tips, I recommend reading Your Money or Your Life. It’s what got me going down this path and really motivated to get my financial life in order. And I’m by no means there yet and am still constantly figuring out how to live with the FIRE concept.

What I Bought in August

Aaaaand we’re back on the buying train. A month “detox” on spending won’t do much except maybe give you some time to ruminate before purchasing. Oh, but waiting did do some good in that now some of the items I was eyeing went on sale!

What I Bought

That KOTN dress I had on my list last month went on sale! Yay for saving some money while trying out a brand I’ve been itching to try for awhile.

I bought the black Only Child Alta top in black raw silk as I had planned last month (the Olive version went on sale in early August, and I was tempted but the black would be more of a staple in my wardrobe). I sold both my Elizabeth Suzann silk Georgia tee (which was gorgeous but I just never reached for that rust color) and the ES Petra crop. So I have no regrets on splurging on the Alta (especially since I wear the white one so much).

Everlane: Recotton Henley, Collarless Air Shirt, Silky Cotton Lantern Shirt, and the short sleeve Crew Neck Bodysuit which I all sent back. I wasn’t in love with them and didn’t feel like making the effort to blog about it. Sorry y’all but blogging burnout.

Elizabeth Suzann silk Harlow dress from eBay: loooove this and have worn it out twice already. I have a feeling this will be a staple in closet.

Mansur Gavriel Mini Mini Lady bag: bought this used on the RealReal and used store credit. I saw this on a friend and loved it on her. So I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve been like a MG Lady bag goldilocks and have owned in the past the large size (no longer produced), the regular size (which is now the large size) and the mini. Maybe the mini mini is the one for me?

What I was gifted

Everlane Denim Chore Coat and the cropped chunky cardigan (aka the Baaba knock-off; and yes I succumbed to the temptation of it even though it is made with 23% nylon. More thoughts about that when I blog about it).

And sorry no links and photos with this post because blog burnout >.<

Unsponsored Chanel Ballet Flats Review: Are They Really Worth It?

There are some costly items are that luxurious and others that are merely expensive and it’s hard to tell the difference. I’ve purchased a lot of expensive items in my lifetime (and sold a lot of them too), and I feel like I’ve gotten better at telling the difference. So are these Chanel ballet flats really a luxury or just merely expensive?

Chanel Ballet Flats Review
 

To me, they are merely expensive. TBH they don’t feel all that different from other ballet flats that I’ve owned. I mean the leather is nice and shoes are sturdy but nothing particularly screams “this is worth $750”. They just have the interlocking C’s on the cap toe and the words “Chanel” on the insole. But I’m no expert on ballet flats (I’ve only owned several pairs in my lifetime and they’re not my favorite type of shoe). My idea of a luxurious flat are Martiniano Glove shoes where the leather feels suuuper buttery and sumptuous.

But to be fair, these Chanel ballet flats are durable (I got a used pair and I still wear them out quite a bit and they look great). And they’re a classic that probably won’t ever go out of style.

As for sizing, if you have wide feet like I do you’re going to need to go up at least half a size. I usually wear a size 8 or 38, and I got these in a 38.5. So far I haven’t had any blisters in these, but I also got these used and so they were already broken-in for me.

Since these ballet flats currently retail new for $750 (craaazy), I highly recommend buying them used on a site like Fashionphile or the RealReal. And if you’re worried about the authenticity of used shoes, here’s a quick rundown of how to spot the real thing. And if you want to be 100% certain of authenticity, you can pay for an authentication service like Etinceler (just be sure to get the authentication done while you’re in the return window).