I received a discount on merchandise for my honest review. All the opinions contained in this post are mine.
After our trip to Colorado, I decided that I couldn't manage a purse and a toddler anymore. I have been reluctant to give up my purse for a long time. You see, I love my designer bags. And I also don't switch out bags very often. I buy a purse and wear it until that purse's cost is pennies on each wear (Ex: I bought a Louis Vuitton Neverfull when I graduated from grad school as a gift to myself. I used that bag daily for nearly SEVEN years. At $700, that purse cost me $0.27 a day). But I digress. A couple weeks after our trip, after a particularly exhausting day of errands, I decided I had no choice but to switch to a hands free bag. I figured a backpack would be the best option and I started my research.
I had a few requirements:
I asked in one of my mommy groups and had a couple of great recommendations. But none of them was really what I was looking for. Lo and behold, I find that this company, Vauva, started following me on Instagram, and I check out their page. Of course, they would have exactly what I was looking for, because, duh, it was started by two parents. I reached out and they were willing to work with me, which made me so so excited.
So I ordered my bag and it actually arrived in the middle of Caleb's birthday party. But the following day I was so excited to open it and fill it with all of mine and Caleb's belongings. The bag certainly met all of my requirements. And I hadn't realized how free I would feel when I didn't have to worry about a bag in my hand or on my shoulders!
Now, about the bag. It's a synthetic leather (which means it's low maintenance and super easy to keep clean). The inside is polyester - also easy to clean! It looks chic and sleek. It isn't bulky or cumbersome. It's also the most gorgeous red color inside. It has two pockets on the sides, for things like cell phone, keys, and chapstick. It has a zippered compartment on the front of the bag - I keep antibacterial wipes, sanitary products, and my lipgloss or powder if I need it in there. There is also a zippered pocket on the back of the bag where I keep my wallet and my Kindle (for when he falls asleep in the car and I don't want to mess with him), along with anything else that is valuable and I want to make sure can't be pickpocketed.
The inside of the bag has four pockets, one insulated for keeping drinks hot or cold. The other three are of varying sizes and are great for keeping pacifiers, toys, crayons, and other small items. There is also a zippered compartment, and I've been putting his snacks in there.
The bag comes with a changing pad and a wet/dry bag. I keep his diapers, a disposable changing table cover, and a garbage baggie for poopy diapers in there and then tuck it into the changing pad. When he needs a diaper change, everything is in one place and I don't have to go rummaging through the bag. I keep that in the large compartment along with Caleb's Kindle (the bulky cover makes it hard to fit into the back pocket), a little notebook for coloring, my glasses, and anything else that might be too large for one of the pockets.
Above is pictured everything I keep in the bag on a regular basis. This is all stuff that will get me through a day out on the street with Caleb. We are headed to Disney soon, and this is probably what the bag will have inside, minus the two Kindles, for about 5 or 6 hours at the park (we don't typically spend an entire day there). If you're trying to fit everything but the kitchen sink in your bag, it's probably not the one for you. But if you want to streamline your stuff and feel like you have it all together, then this is definitely the perfect bag for you.
LOOK MA, NO HANDS!
I love that I can load Caleb in the car, put away the stroller, and get in my car, all without having to stop to put my purse in the front seat because it's in my way. And while we're out, I can hold his hand, carry him, push the stroller, or whatever it is I have to do, and not worry that my bag is isn my way.
I love how classy and simple the bag is. It looks put together enough that I can rock it with my workout clothes like I did here or with a cute outfit to spend the day out and about with my family. It's also completely functional and comfortable. The straps are like school backpack straps and help the weight of the bag stay evenly distributed on your back, without digging into your shoulders.
Last but not least, is price. When I saw that this bag was under $100, I couldn't believe it, especially when a lot of other bags I looked at were half as functional and double the price. Even better, though, is that from now until the end of February, Vauva is giving YOU, my beloved readers, a special hookup for 25% off! Use the code "TOPKNOT" at checkout, and save yourself some money on this bag. Or show your hubby this post and drop some major hints for Valentine's Day! ;)
I can't wait to see all you super mamas rocking this bag and simplifying your life while you do it. When you do, post your pics, hashtag them #vauvamama and send them to me! I'd love to hear how much you love your Vauva pack!
I'm off to order the beige one, friends!
I've given you my packing lists (here and here) and my tips for travel. In honor of upcoming weekend trips and for the sake of planning ahead like I know many of us like to do, I'm sharing my top 5 travel essentials for ANY trip. These are things that aren't included in any of my packing lists, but they are essentials for me no matter where I am going. These work for weekend trips as well as longer trips!
Last week I highlighted how I always have certain things ready to go for a trip so that I am always ready for travel. Today I'm going to just get right to it and share with you a couple of packing lists. Obviously things on my lists will differ from yours based on your child's age, needs, and your personal preferences. However, I think these lists should be a good starting point!
When we travel via plane, I have three lists: one for a carry-on bag (usually my purse), one for the baby's diaper bag, and one for suitcases or checked luggage. For my bag I like to use a carryall so I can fit as many things as possible in there. We use this diaper backpack - we really like it because it holds so much. It has plenty of compartments, including two insulated ones. As far as the suitcases go, it depends on the trip!
We also take our stroller to the gate and check it there. We traveled with a car seat once and were able to take it on the plane with us because there were empty seats in our row. I also take the carrier and usually wear baby onto the plane because it makes it easier to have my hands a little more free.
So here we go!
SPECIFICALLY FOR BABY!
*If a trip is longer than a weekend, I usually buy diapers when I arrive at my destination. And recently, I decided I am going to try shipping diapers and wipes from Amazon to my hotel. Diapers occupy so much valuable packing space.
I hope this helps! Happy travels!
I know I already wrote about traveling with a baby, and I recommend it for anyone who can. With summer upon us, and family vacations on the horizon, I figured now would be as good a time as any to talk about packing for your littlest family member. I'm splitting this post into several parts because it makes sense to me to do so, that way you aren't overloaded with information. Just lookin' out.
I'm a list maker. I make lists for to-do's, for groceries, for events, and more than anything, for packing. Before I was married, I used to go on trips with my girlfriends, and all of our significant others made fun of us because we prepared "trip folders" with lists, schedules, itineraries, and printouts of anything and everything we thought we would need. And at the front of every folder I've ever made for myself? You guessed it. Packing lists.
Lists just make me feel like I'm in control of a situation, when honestly, for the most part, I'm not. I find, especially for longer trips, that lists made well in advance of my trip make for a much smoother experience.
For our big Paris trip, I had a stack of lists (pictured above). It helped me insanely to divide my lists into specific bags: diaper bag, carry-on, checked luggage. Within the list there were additional lists: toiletry bag, accessories, medications, etc.
I do have a few items that are always packed and ready for a trip. When we return from any vacation, I replace whatever was used and leave it ready to go for the next one. It makes it much easier to just grab that and toss it in the bag, especially since packing medications can be so tedious. The biggest thing for me to have packed always is a medicine bag, especially when you are traveling to remote areas or foreign countries. For travel within the US, I don't usually stress about having every little thing, because most places will have some variation of what I need. I don't usually carry an entire packet of the medication, but I do make sure to have enough on hand where if we need it, we have it. I don't keep prescriptions in there for obvious reasons, but that is something I usually throw in my purse or carry-on to make sure it's on hand at all times.
In our medicine bag we keep the following (I use individually wrapped as much as possible - if they come in blister packs I just slip one sleeve into my medicine bag):
For Mom & Dad:
I find that these can kind of get us through most ailments, at least until we have time to be seen or get to a pharmacy. I am also a user of essential oils, and I usually carry those with me as well, so they do not stay in my pre-packed bag.
Another thing that I keep ready to go, also because it can be tedious work to pack, is a toiletry bag. This one is pretty simple, and the older Caleb gets, the less I feel like I need to take, but it's still easier to have it ready to grab than it is to repack everything each time we go somewhere.
Each time I come back from a trip, I refill whatever needs to be refilled, replace what needs replacing, and leave it ready to go for the next one. It really makes life easier.
So there is the first part of my advice on packing for a trip with a little one! I hope it is helpful to you in preparing for your own travels!
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.