Dagne Dover Classic Tote: Is It Worth It?

 

Dagne Dover first popped onto my radar when I started to see Facebook ads for them. Because Facebook is clever and very scary, it knew that I was a prime target to be converted into a Dagne Dover customer. Not only has my handbag obsession been around for years, but I also deal with the struggle of having too much stuff floating around in my bag, and at the same time not having nearly enough room for everything I wanted to put in there.  After being convinced that this bag was perfect for me, I decided to boldly reach out to the company and tell them why I was the perfect person to write a review for them. Amazingly, they responded and agreed to send me their classic tote.  While I was sent the bag, the following opinions are 100% honest.  Remember, I reached out to them…and let’s be real here, if they didn’t agree to send me one to review, pure curiosity would have caused me to drop the money on it anyway because I already decided I had to have it.  I just want to be fully transparent here.  Ok, now we can get started. 

While 95% of the time I’m working it’s in the comfort of my own office (and sometimes my couch), there have been plenty of occasions where I have wanted to take my blog’s HQ to a different location.  Okay, usually that location is Starbucks and occasionally a meeting, but still, it requires me to pack up my things and go somewhere else.  When this happens, it’s pretty typical that I’m carrying my big purse as well as a laptop bag and a water bottle.  I’m clunky, clumsy, and take up far too much space.  If only there was a way to solve my traveling dilemma.

Enter: The Dagne Dover Classic Tote

When I first laid eyes on that targeted Facebook Ad I was instantly smitten with this tote bag. It had all of the features of any bag I could possibly want, and even a few features I didn’t know I needed.  Here’s some info on the features of this bag (we’ll get more in-depth in a second):

  • Drop Zipper Opening
  • L 13” x H 8” x W ¾” Padded Laptop Sleeve with Hidden Magnetic Closure
  • L 10 ½” x H 7 ½” Padded Tablet / Notebook Sleeve
  • Phone Pocket with ID / MetroCard Compartment
  • 3 Pen / Lipgloss Loops
  • Large Interior Zipper Pocket
  • 2 Slip Pockets (L 5 ½” x H 6”)
  • Additional Side Slip Pocket (L 4” x H 4 ½”)
  • 4” Diameter Neoprene Bottle Holder
  • Detachable Leather Key Leash with 2 interior D-Rings
  • 2 External Aesthetic D-Rings
  • Pyramid Hardware Feet

 

The Classic Tote fits everything you could possibly need to get you through a work day all the and take you all way to a night out with friends.  The coated canvas looks super chic but is also water-resistant and easy to clean with a damp cloth, making it ideal for the woman on the go. 

The major sell for me was all of the built in organizational features.  Not only is there a padded laptop sleeve which fits my 13 in Macbook Pro perfectly (If you have a 15 in laptop you can get the Legend Tote), but there’s a separate slot to keep my iPad safe as well, and that section has a nice magnetic closure.  There’s a separate pocket for my phone, and in front of that, there’s a pocket for any cards that need to be within easy reach.  3 separate pen/lip gloss loops give this planner addict plenty of writing implements to choose from (because you know my Erin Condren Life Planner is likely in there too) but be warned, some lip glosses might be a little difficult to get back out of that pen loop.  I learned that one the hard way. 

There are a large zipper pocket and two slip pockets attached to the other side of the tote, as well as a side pocket perfect for an umbrella or sunglasses.  A cool feature I didn’t know I needed was the detachable key leash.  It has never been so easy for me to find my keys in a giant bag, and the leash is long enough that it isn’t a challenge to use them either. However, I’m pretty sure my favorite feature has to be the built-in neoprene water bottle holder.  I always have a water bottle with me. Literally, always.  Ask anyone I know personally.  This holder actually snaps into the side of the tote to help prevent it from falling when housing my water bottle.  Not only is that part genius, but it also keeps any condensation on the bottle off of the rest of my stuff.  I cannot stress enough how important and awesome this feature is to me.  I’m obsessed. 

With plenty of space outside of the organizational holders, this tote has room for more than I could possibly carry at once. This bag is likely to get too heavy for me before it ends up too full.  For someone with “normal” arm muscles, this won’t be quite as big of a deal, but for me, the heavier a bag gets vs the difficulty I have with it increases exponentially.  This is nothing against the Dagne Dover bag, but it’s simply something I need to be aware of.  That being said, let me show you everything I can fit comfortably in my Dagne Dover Classic Tote:

  • My 13 in Macbook Pro
  • My iPad mini
  • my iPhone 7
  • Computer charger
  • My Erin Condren Life Planner
  • 3 pens
  • a makeup bag filled with my essentials
  • my phone cord and portable charger
  • A Quest bar and other snacks
  • water bottle
  • EC hardbound notebook
  • Wallet
  • keys
  • my travel pharmacy (because I never know when I’ll need ibuprofen or Sudafed)

See? Everything that I could possibly need to survive an entire day.

After packing things up, I was very surprised to see that while the bag was indeed heavy, I found the straps did a great job of actually staying on my shoulders. This is something I have always struggled with in shirts, bra straps, and handbags. I’m guessing it’s from CMT related lack of muscle.  I was able to swing this on my shoulders and it stayed put while I walked around with it.  My biggest complaint is that there isn’t a crossbody strap option.  I mean, I sort of understand why there isn’t one (too thin and all of the weight will dig into your shoulder/neck; too thick and it looks really stupid), but there should have at least been an option. 

The Dagne Dover Classic Tote retails for $245.  While this sounds steep, it’s actually a pretty great deal for what you get.  I searched canvas totes at Nordstrom just for comparison’s sake, and it turns out that the Dagne Dover tote is less expensive and a lot more classy looking than many of the options there.  The classic tote is available in 5 colors:

  • Onyx- black
  • Dagne Blue – A deep, true blue
  • Bleecker Blush- A greyish taupe.  This is the color of my tote.
  • Prism- very pale pink
  • Jasmine- A chic pastel blue

At the end of the day, after giving this bag a try I would have definitely gone out and bought it for myself.  Not only that, but I now want everything on the Dagne Dover site.  My next mission is to get my hands on the Petite Tote (which does come with a crossbody strap!) for adventures around town where I don’t want to carry a massive tote around. All of Dagne Dover’s products look classic, chic, and perfect for the business woman, woman about town, or even the woman who mostly stays home (..me). Check them out and see for yourself. 

**Thank you to Dagne Dover for kindly providing their classic tote for my review.  I am not at all paid for this review and all opinions are my own.  However, if you make a purchase using my link, I do get $25 in store credit to go towards my next bag purchase.  Thanks for your support.**

 

 

 

 

 

April 2017 Goals

Oh my gosh, I feel like world’s most terrible blogger.  Lately, I’ve been lucky if I can get one post up every few weeks, and I have no one to blame but myself.  It’s not that I don’t have the time, it’s that I don’t make the time, and that’s on me and me alone.  This month is the start of the second quarter of 2017 (already??) and I feel like this year so far has been a bit of a bust, but it’s time for me to get things turned around and working in my favor, and that starts with some new goals. 

Start doing the Miracle Morning daily.  I’ve started to reread Hal Elrod’s best seller “The Miracle Morning,” and I am loving it.  I’ve read it once before, but I failed horribly at actually implementing all of the great things that this book has to offer.  This time around I’m in a little Facebook book club that will serve as an accountability group to ensure each of us is not only reading, but doing what the book tells us.  For fun, even though I’m only 1/3 of the way done with the book, I decided to try doing a “Miracle Morning” this morning, and it worked!  I feel great, I’ve been productive, gotten a workout in, read, journaled, prayed, ate a healthy breakfast, and even did some blog work, and it isn’t even 11 am yet!  My goal is to finish the book and to start doing this miracle morning routine every day, and my hope is I’ll get some very positive changes out of it.  You can check out the book on Amazon.  For only $15 it’s definitely worth picking up.  Read more

April 2017 Wish List

Air Fryer | Benefit Boxed Blush | Ole Henriksen Kit | Village Candle Coffee Bean | Beauty and the Beast Journal | Iconic Protein Drink

Here are a few of the awesome products that have caught my eye and made it onto my wish list for the new month.  We’ve got a little bit of everything this month.  Check it out!

Air Fryer ($150)- My biggest wishlist item of the month is an air fryer.  After seeing all of the awesome creations people are coming up with in their fryers, I’m having some severe envy about not having one of my own.  Air Fryers help you achieve the crisp cook of fried food while using little to no oil in the preparation.  This sounds like a dream come true.  I’m longing to get my hands on one of these so I can try out different veggies in there to make my own sweet potato fries, butternut squash bites, and I’m really dying to try the Green Giant cauliflower tots in there.  I was obsessed with them when I had them at my parent’s house, and I imagine tossing them in an air fryer rather than the oven will make them even more amazing. This appliance actually surpassed a new coffee maker on my wishlist. That’s just crazy talk!

Benefit Galifornia($29)- I’ve always enjoyed Benefit’s cult classic boxed blushes. Coralista has always been one of my favorites, and GALifornia looks like it might be a slightly brighter, but still completely wearable version of my all time favorite.   Read more

Erin Condren Seasonal Surprise Box | Spring 2017

Starting this year Erin Condren decided to put out a seasonal mystery box full of exclusives, sneak peeks, and product favorites.  The catch is you don’t know what is in the box until it shows up at your door.  By the time you start seeing posts on Instagram or on YouTube, the box has long since been sold out and you wouldn’t be able to get your hands on it anyway, so you have to be willing to fork over the moolah and hope for the best. The box costs $35 and ships free in the USA.  I didn’t get the winter box, but I decided to take the plunge for spring.  Curious as to what is inside?  Read on!

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6 Tips To Help You Conquer Your Cravings

For me, one of the most difficult parts of this entire weight loss journey is knowing how to make the right choices when a craving strikes. Whether it be for the jar of peanut butter, a delicious piece of pizza, or the Hersey’s kisses in the candy jar, I get cravings regularly, and they’re often the reason my day doesn’t go as planned.  Let’s face it, if we didn’t have to fight off cravings, odds are we wouldn’t be in the situation where we need to lose weight anyway, right?  What’s a gal to do?

What we need are ways to conquer our cravings so we can take back control and eat the things we want when we decide to rather than allow a craving to decide for us. Here are 6 tips to help you (and me) beat those cravings next time we’re wanting something that doesn’t fit into our day.

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Sunday Shenanigans | The Diva Diaries

It’s 8:30pm on Sunday night. Mister left for the airport a few hours ago (typically he doesn’t leave until Monday mornings), so it’s just me and my fur baby. Our shenanigans mentioned in the title aren’t all that crazy, as I’m already in pjs, makeup removed, and watching the latest episode of Shark Tank with Gracie on the couch sleeping next to me.  We Engebretsen ladies sure know how to party it up on a Sunday night, huh?  To be fair, in an effort to get a little bit of a headstart on my week, the kitchen is clean, I have a video rendering, and I’m working on a blog post, so all is not lost in my evening.  

I also need to get off my butt for a whopping 800 more steps to reach my step goal for the day, and I didn’t even go to the gym today!

Life in the WW arena was all about balance toady. I was way below points up until dinner, where I wanted to enjoy a bowl of Trader Joe’s organic creamy tomato soup. It’s only 4sp per cup and it is to die for delicious.  Since I had plenty of room for a bit more indulgence, I knew what I needed to pair with my tomato soup.  Any guesses??

 

If you guessed a grilled cheese sandwich, you were spot on.  After all, those two items were made for each other, don’t you think?

Since the only things in my kitchen that came anywhere close to ingredients for a grilled cheese was a high fiber wrap for 1sp and fat free shredded cheese, I decided the best answer was to hop over to Panera and order a sandwich from there, but it wasn’t just a regular grilled cheese.  Did you know you could customize that sucker to become a super tasty (and yes, calorie heavy) beast? My sandwich was made on sourdough bread with white cheddar, parmesan and gouda cheeses, crumbled bacon, and tomatoes. Imagine dipping that baby into a bowl of hot tomato soup.  It was so good.  It wiped me of the rest of my points for the day, but you know what? SO worth it.  Sometimes you just need to have some yummy comfort food, and having to say goodbye to my husband a mere 48 hours after he got home last while in the midst of what I can only guess are hormonally induced emotions…well, it didn’t take much for me to decide that this meal was the way to go.  

Since Panera is reasonably nearby, my bargain with myself is if I order from there, I walk to go pick it up, which I did, and I didn’t add any sweets to my order! Don’t think it didn’t cross my mind, but the sandwich was more than enough.  So… steps, no sweet treat, and a satisfying comfort food meal that I don’t feel at all guilty about.

Tonight’s final objective is to go to bed at a reasonable hour, get a solid night’s sleep, and start tomorrow with a hardcore workout and a perfectly on plan day.  

After all..a lifetime of healthy living is all about balance. 

Fat Tuesday | The Diva Diaries

Today is Fat Tuesday.  I never really liked the name “Fat” Tuesday, especially since becoming a Weight Watcher.  To me, it just seems like this day where we can basically toss all of our dieting rules out the window and be fat, and this bothered me for a few reasons. 

  1. One day of indulgence is not going to make you fat.  I repeat: One day of indulgence is NOT going to make you fat. You gain weight, I mean really gain, when it’s day after day after day of indulging.
  2. Those of us on a diet sometimes have a hard enough time controlling ourselves.  We need to A) not have a day that encourages us to throw everything out the window, and B) come to terms with the idea that we have the power to have a little indulgence in moderation worked right into our plan.  Going to the extreme is not necessary.

Now, all of that being said, I kind of did participate in the “fat” part of today.  First, I didn’t really track today, and I don’t even feel guilty about it, but that’s because of some of the decisions I made.  I had a regular breakfast (5 sp), but later in the day I got sidetracked with my niece before going to the gym, and that resulted in me getting hungry at my parent’s house, which never results in good choices (Note to self: get better at keeping a snack in your purse at all times.).  I treated myself to some crackers (I did choose Triscuits over the buttery onion crackers) and this amazing spreadable cheese my mom gets from the Amish bakery when it visits her work every few months, and followed that up with a handful-ish of peanut M&Ms.  Rockstar move..I know. 

Every year on Fat Tuesday there is a pancake dinner at my church (the Lutheran church.  My YouTube subscribers know that I regularly attend 2 churches.  I call one the “Little Lutheran Church” and the other is “the bigger, contemporary church”), so it’s ingrained in me to have pancakes for dinner on Fat Tuesday.  My original plan was to go to the dinner and enjoy regular old pancakes with my parents, but I was later informed they weren’t going, so I changed plans and made myself protein pancakes instead.  It was a much healthier option, but it was also followed up with a mini chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s.  It was delicious, indulgent, and worth every un-tracked bite.  At least I’m keeping the healthy and unhealthy choices pretty balanced.. Gold star for that. 

Fat Tuesday also means so much more than a day of indulgence.  Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent beginning.  Lent is regarded in the Christian faith is a time for repentance, renewal, and typically some form of sacrifice, which is why many give something up for Lent. It’s the start of the 40 days leading up to Easter, aka the whole reason our belief system exists. It has been quite a few years since I’ve chosen to give something up for Lent, but instead, I’ve been choosing to add something to my day, sacrificing my time in an effort to spend more time with God (I wrote a whole post on this several years ago). This year, Lent conveniently coincides with my discovery of a new (to me) weight loss book that mixes faith along with diet called Made to Crave.  I’m halfway through it (since starting the audio book yesterday..I couldn’t stop listening) and I think its message is perfectly timed for me to use this new way of thinking about healthy living alongside the Lenten season.

In a nutshell, this book talks about as humans we are made to crave, but where we should be craving God, we’ve replaced that desire for other things like material possessions, alcohol, sex, drugs, popularity, and of course, food. The book talks about how this desire to lose weight and get healthy can also be (and should be) a spiritual journey to get closer to God.  If we fill our cravings with God, there will be no room to be ruled by food.  If we focus on our obedience to God and how he would want us to treat our bodies, which are a gift from him, we can more easily overcome our physical and emotional setbacks and get up and moving.  

To many of you, it may sound like a bunch of crap, and if that’s the case, then maybe this isn’t for you, but something in this book clicked for me, and I am so excited to take this new approach to my weight loss.  Starting tomorrow, it isn’t about eliminating one thing for Lent.  It’s about seeking to be more obedient to God by taking better care of this body he gave me.  I want to get better about eating more whole foods and less sugar (perhaps by giving up regular indulgences like candy and non-WW friendly goods in the process). I want to focus on getting stronger and more functional rather than just thinner.  While this adventure of mine will last more than the duration of Lent, these 40 days will definitely give me a great start.  

Here we go.

 

The Diva Diaries First Post

Well hello there. Welcome to a brand new section of my blog that I’ve decided to call “The Diva Diaries.” I was inspired by the book I’m currently reading, The Adventures of Dietgirl, to start a journaling section of the site that I can basically treat like a much less formal (I know my blog isn’t “formal” anyway,) place where I basically write as if I was writing in my notebook journal.  The book is the story of one woman’s weight loss journey all written in journal entry format, and the more I read, the more I was feeling compelled to do something similar.

I’m not sure what you can expect from my Diva Diaries posts because it’s a journal, so it’s going to be whatever is on my mind. My goal is to center it around my ongoing weight loss journey, but you never know where my mind might go.  What I can promise is plenty of struggles, discoveries, victories, failures, and everything else that goes into this crazy little thing called life 

On Tuesday’s vlog, I decided to ask if you would like to see some more journal type entries from me, like what I was reading in the book, and there were enough people who said yes that I decided it was a go!  So last night I created an image, and the Diva Diaries was born.  

I weigh in tomorrow, so things will officially start then! 

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer Review

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

When I say “Dyson” you picture a high-end vacuum cleaner, right? Of course you do! I recently added their amazing cordless vacuum to my collection and I’ve never thought I could love a Dyson more than I love that vacuum.  Then I got my hands on their hair dryer…

Yes, Dyson, the brand many of us turn to for clean floors, makes a hair dryer, and it’s amazing. 

What makes the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer so special?

The Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is without a doubt the most high-tech piece of beauty technology I have ever used.  The professionals at Dyson worked long and hard to produce this well thought-out and designed product. Equipped with a Dyson v9 motor, the supersonic hair dryer gets hair dried quickly and with minimal damage to your precious strands.  The features of the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer are as follows:

  • Air Multiplier Technology: Air is amplified 3 times, producing a high-pressure, high-velocity jet of air (Think about the Dyson hand dryers in some public bathrooms.  Those things are powerful).
  • Pulse-width modulation enables precise control of the heating element.
  • Annular element construction: Annular double-stack heating element allows a compact barrel without compromising heat generation.
  • Glass Bead Thermistor: Thermal sensor measures exit flow temperature 20 times per second and transmits data to the machine’s microprocessor.
  • Intelligence: To help prevent extreme heat damage a microprocessor in the head intelligently controls the heating element using data from a thermistic bead.
  • 4 heat settings and 3-speed settings
  • Power: The Dyson digital motor v9’s 13 impeller blades spin at up to 110,000 rpm.  It’s fast, light, and small.
  • Vibration reduction mount: a rubber isolation mount prevents the motor from vibrating against the inside of the handle, reducing the transfer of noise between the motor and the case. 
  • Removable filter cage: easy cleaning!
  • Engineered for balance: the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is the only manufactured hair dryer with the motor in the handle instead of the head. 
  • Negative ions help reduce static in the hair.
  • LED indicators
  • Stainless steel magnetic interface: The only hair dryer with magnetic attachments for easy fitting and rotation.

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First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Bouncy Mask Review

I am a skincare junkie who is constantly on a quest to find the right combination of products that work for my skin. While I feel like once I find the “magic formula” in my day to day products, I will likely keep any changes to a minimum, when it comes to face masks it’s a whole different story.  Face masks are treatments that help enhance your normal skincare routine by offering a dose fo super strength for whatever ails your skin at the time.  While I’m acne prone, I have a collection of masks that not only treat acne, but hydrate, brighten, exfoliate, and energize.  I love trying new masks, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop and settle on just one. 

When I heard about the First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 bouncy mask I was immediately intrigued. Not only did the information I saw about the mask make me want to try it, but the one video I happened to click on (It was on FAB’s Youtube channel) sang the praises of the instant gratification the mask provides. Granted, I’m sure the blogger featured in the video was paid, but I had to try it and see if it was true. Read more