Work + Travel: Lo & Sons Seville Tote Review

As much as I love the ubiquitous Longchamp totes, I knew I needed a new work-appropriate bag after the strap on my my black Le Pliage Neo tote ripped off – this was after a busted zipper and severely worn down edges. These bags are certainly workhorses, but I had already gone through three of them in the span of a couple years, so I was ready to switch it up.

Enter the Lo & Sons Seville tote. I own the OG tote and Pearl crossbody from Lo & Sons, so I knew I could expect a well-designed bag that was both stylish and practical. I received the Seville in Navy as a graduation gift and immediately tested it out on a five week trip through Europe.

Lo & Sons Seville Tote
From Instagram: Packed & ready to go with the black soft shell option.

At first glance, it looks like your standard leather work tote – however, the exterior is actually one of its most distinguishing features. The Seville has a unique Shell + Design™ system that allows you to swap out the exterior leather shell for different colors by simply unsnapping the straps and pulling out the interior compartment, shown below.

Lo & Sons Seville

You can buy additional shells separately, and they’ve released a few new colors recently – so there’s definitely something for everyone. Each leather tote includes an black soft shell as well, which is a great option for worry-free traveling, especially with its luggage sleeve on the back.

Like their other totes, the laptop compartment has a strap that provides security and prevents your laptop from flopping around in the bag. There are interior pockets for legal sized documents (on the 15″ tote, specifically), smaller items and also a zip compartment for more sensitive items like passports and cash.

How I packed my Seville tote:

Lo & Sons Seville Tote

Lo & Sons Seville Tote

Yep, I was able to pack the Lo & Sons Pearl crossbody into the tote! Along with my 11″ laptop, full-sized flat iron and multiple toiletry bags.

Lo & Sons Seville Tote

The straps are sturdy and the perfect length to carry comfortably on your shoulder without having to stick out your elbow too much. As you can see below, the snap end of the strap is fed through a holster that prevents it from coming lose.

Lo & Sons Seville Tote

Lo & Sons Seville Tote

The Verdict

Overall, another A+ bag from Lo & Sons – now, time to decide on which shell I want next!

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An Honest Tieks Review: Mid-Year Performance

If you’ve arrived at this post, you’re probably wondering: are Tieks worth all the hype? During my initial research, I noticed that most reviews focused on receiving and trying on a new pair of the flats. My question was “How do Tieks hold up over time?” – so hopefully this Tieks review will help shed some light in that regard.

Background: I am very, very picky when it comes to flats. The only flats I’ve found comfortable in the past ~8 or so years have been Sam Edelman Felicia flats and Tory Burch Eddie flats, the latter of which are now discontinued. Hence, I was on the hunt for a new pair of go-to solid-colored leather flats.

How I Snagged a Pair of Tieks at a Discount

For the past few holiday seasons, Tieks hosts an advent calendar promotion via their Twitter account. From December 1st through the 24th, anyone who retweets their daily advent tweet is entered for a chance to win a gift card for Tieks flats. This is a great deal, as they never run promotions or sales on their website. I tried this a few times in 2014 to no avail; However, 2015 was my lucky year, and I won a $100 gift card with just a few days left in the season.

I’d been considering purchasing a pair of Tieks for some time – several friends swore by how comfortable these flats were and owned many pairs in different colors – but I always balked at the price tag. Silly in retrospect, as the Tory Burch Eddie are about the same price and much less durable.

I’d been eyeing the classic leather style in Cardinal Red, which was perfect for the holidays (and for any season, really!). Now, after 6 months of heavy usage, I present to you:

Tieks Review - Cardinal Red

Tieks Wear & Tear Review

Overall: I’ll get into more details, but overall the wear isn’t so bad on these. I’ve worn these about 2-3x a week (with the exception of the months of Jan/Feb) in a variety of road and weather conditions. Gnarly streets, light rain, gravel, sand, cobblestone – these shoes have been everywhere!

Comfort: I was skeptical when everyone claimed they could stand in these forever – but they really weren’t kidding. I’ve worn them around theme parks and through several walking tours during a recent 5-week trip in Europe. These were arguably more comfortable for all-day walking than my Nike Flyknits. I had no problem with the band of the shoe digging in or anything – only received one blister on my heel on a particularly hot/sweaty day.

Smell: Let’s admit it, this is a valid concern! In the past, I haven’t been able to wear any flats without little flat liner socks. However, because these are fully leather lined, I’ve had no problem with… unwanted scents of any sort. They smell only of leather, which is amazing.

Leather: As you can see in the photos below, I’ve accumulated a few scuffs on the underside of the toes and some dark marks at the base of the heel. Not bad considering I don’t baby these shoes at all – I’ve stubbed my toe countless times, so it’s rather surprising that more hasn’t worn off. I noticed that the scuffs are pretty limited to small areas – perhaps because of the sturdy leather. In contrast, any scuffs I accumulated on my Tory Burch flats would grow quickly into a very sizable (and noticeable) mark.

Tieks Review - Cardinal Red
Tieks Review - Cardinal Red

Update: Based on a suggestion from another blog review, I’ve actually been able to remove most of the black markings by using baby wipes!

Rubber Soles: The rubber soles are in great shape – you can see some smoothing of the rubber on the front portion, but that’s about it.

Tieks Review - Cardinal Red

So, are Tieks worth it?

Absolutely. Given their comfort and durability, I have no qualms about purchasing another pair at full price. Judging from these first several months, I’m confident that I can achieve a solid cost-per-wear of well under $1, so these get a thumbs-up from me.

Note: This Tieks review is for their classic leather flats only – I’ve heard that some of the very pretty metallic shades, such as Rose Gold Glam, may show signs of wear and tear more quickly. So keep that in mind – though your mileage may vary!

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Happy Holidays 2013: Subscription Box Edition

After months of reading about Birchbox online and seeing friends post their latest boxes on Instagram, I decided to try the subscription service out for myself beginning in February. My first box of goodies was meh, but subsequent boxes improved after I tweaked my profile a bit more. I also began subscribing to the Coco Rocha Fancy Box and Quarterly Co’s Pharrell box – though both of these yielded interesting items, in the end the cost:value ratio wasn’t quite right for me. For now, I’ll only be sticking with Birchbox – though if something piques my interest in this now saturated marketplace (subscription boxes are becoming the new daily deals), I may still give it a try.

Subscription box favorites of the year include:

1. Coola Cucumber SPF 30 Moisturizervia Birchbox
One of the few SPF moisturizers that doesn’t smell heavily like sunscreen – which is the downside of those from brands I would otherwise favor, like Cetaphil and Philosophy.
COOLA Cucumber SPF 30 Moisturizer

2. amika Obliphica Nourishing Maskvia Birchbox
Unoffensive floral scent that isn’t saccharine sweet and light enough to use as an everyday conditioner for dry, heat-styled hair.
amika Obliphica Nourishing Mask

3. RUFFIAN Nail Lacquervia Birchbox
First experience with this brand – the formula was promising, stayed on for a week and the colors are full coverage (no watery formula here!). As a fan of green, Hedge Fund was the perfect shade to receive a sample of.
RUFFIAN Nail Lacquer

4. Moleskine XS Class Notebook in Purplevia Fancy
Can’t go wrong with a Moleskine – the extra small size can be thrown into any bag or clutch, and the purple was a nice change from my usual black.
Moleskine XS Classic Notebook in Purple

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