Saturday, June 22, 2013

How I Became a Bag Lady

(Or "Why I'm a HUGE Fan of 31 Gifts")

Is it me, or does it seem like home parties and direct sales are making a huge comeback? I have friends who sell Scentsy, friends who sell jewelry, and, happily, friends who sell 31 Gifts. It seems like I am always invited to an online party, to check out a new catalog, to hear about a special. I'm a sucker for products that my friends love, so I'm pretty much a perfect target.

Note: PLEASE don't take that as an invitation to send me more catalogs. I will love the stuff, but contrary to popular belief, writing a small blog about your family while being a stay at home mom is NOT super lucrative, and I just can't pick up anything new!

I hadn't heard of 31 until about a year ago, when my friend Kim started inviting me to her open houses. I was skeptical at first. We had just decluttered when we were prepping for Reagan's arrival, and I didn't think I needed any more bags. I was trying to get organized.

Turned out that Kim was right. She's a mom, she knows what a mom needs. And this was exactly what I needed. I am using these bags to organize me, my car, and the many, many things that the girls seem to require.

I like things organized. If everything has a home then I can always find what I'm looking for. My very favorite piece is the large utility tote.  This bag has been a godsend.

Awesome summer print - but you have to hurry. This one is available in June only!

When I saw Kim with this bag, I knew I had to have it because it stands up by itself. 

Stands up by itself. Do you know what that means? You can put it down on the floor and pack it neatly one handed. Which is not a feature I ever anticipated needing, but if you have, say, a fifteen month old who realizes when you're trying to accomplish something so you can get out of the house, and decides that the only thing that will make her happy in the world is to be held, you can do that and be productive. I mean, I'm just guessing.

This also means that you can put it down and now worry about it dumping out all your stuff. 

Yeah, this shouldn't be the major selling point, but for me, it is perfect. I keep one in my trunk now.  It stands there, waiting for me to leave Target, leave BJs, wherever our errands take us. Rather than have a trunk cluttered with bags that I may or may not remember to bring in, I bring in one bag that I'm confident nothing fell out of.

I love it so much that I knew I'd need one for the pool.

Last summer, I bought this cute little straw looking beach bag that turned out to be completely useless. It wasn't big enough for all the stuff that the girls needed. I ended up using Madison's daycare bag, which was in no way waterproof (which we found out the hard way), and incredibly awkward to tote to the pool. I was trying to carry a baby, a bag, a bumbo, a second bag, and wrangle a toddler. I spent a lot of time eying up what bags the other moms had, and how they seemed to be managing.

Packed for the pool!

This utility bag is exactly what I needed. Did I mention it stands up? I did? Ok. Well it also is able to hold three towels, two sets of pool shoes, sunscreen, pool toys, changes of clothes, and everything else you could possibly need - with room to spare. The straps are long enough to sling over my shoulder, and I can actually wrangle both girls without looking like a pack mule.

Not to mention that the summer patterns are so cute. This one just screams summer fun, doesn't it?

Another one that I now can't imagine my life without now is living in my car as well. I got a utility bin to catch all those little things that I "need" to have in there with me. I keep snacks, lollipops, various kinds of wipes, plastic bags, napkins, car chargers, gps...basically, if I need anything or Madison requests something from the backseat, I can provide. Best part? When someone rides in my car, all I need to do is move one bin, instead of frantically sweeping all the clutter away. This bin has saved me an incredible amount of car embarrassment.

Last, but certainly not least, I picked up a thermal bag, thanks to an incredible promotion they were running. I've mentioned that we travel with food - everywhere. In the summer, that can get problematic when that snack bag includes fruit, cheese, you know, all the healthy stuff.  The thermal tote solved that. I tuck one small ice pack in there, and we're good to go.

I am now a huge fan. I'm dying to host a party because the hostess rewards are ah-may-zing. Exclusive bags that help organize you in such a cute way. No matter what your style - classic, trendy, cute, fun, simple, sporty - there is a pattern and set up that fits.

Because Kim is awesome, when I told her that I was going to gush about my newfound love, she offered a giveaway, not one, but two coordinating bags to one lucky winner. You'll get a medium utility tote (slightly smaller, but still plenty of space) and an organizing utility tote, which is just as awesome and has exterior pockets, in patchwork paisley.

If you can't wait, don't despair. Their June special is awesome. If you spend $35, you get my beloved large utility tote for TEN DOLLARS. Ten. This is a $35 bag that is worth every penny, so this deal is awesome. 

This giveaway will end at midnight on Tuesday, June 25, so get your entries in quick! Kim provided the bags for the giveaway. I was not provided with merchandise or compensation for this post. All opinions are, of course, my own! 

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