Shopping Addiction

Two weeks without a smartphone…. and now a LG L7 II review

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I can’t believe I actually stuck it out for over TWO WEEKS without any ability to mobile blog, tweet, send whatsapp messages, listen to podcasts from my pocket, look up stuff on the internet while out and about, snap a reasonable photo and share it instantly, and all the other stuff that we take for granted doing on our smartphones.  For over two weeks I just used a simple phone for calling & sending simple, painful-to-tap-in SMS messages when absolutely necessary.

It’s like I stepped into a time warp and it was 8 years ago.

Now I have a little smartphone that is a delight in the fact that it is a working android smartphone with all my google apps restored, so I can swype quick messages via whatsapp to my friends and family all over the world, and have a working calendar at the ready and always with me to remind me of appointments (of which I have to say I missed at least one these last couple of weeks).  It’s smaller and lighter than my Galaxy s3, and I have to say it’s delightful to move in that direction of smaller & lighter.

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I bought a LG optimus L7 ii dual (for being able to add a second sim card, a feature I would have found very handy when I traveled a lot but probably won’t use nowadays) on eBay from a hong kong seller called ” electronic.linked ” and with only 82 feedbacks.  I must have gotten a good deal because he nearly doubled the price within the time it took me to receive the phone.  I paid about 200 bucks including shipping (about ten working days), and now it’s 370 including shipping.   The stores locally were also selling it for the higher amount, so I figured if I use it awhile and don’t like it & re-sell it, I can undercut the current new price by a good 40% for being slightly used, and still not lose any money.

So as of today I’m trying it out and I love the 4.3″ screen size and even with a silicone cover, it feels thin and light and not bulky in the hand, and great size for jeans pockets.  The galaxy s3 I’ve been using for 15 months just always was heavy and too big, for my hands at least.  It isn’t the most blazingly fast running superphone out there, but I’m only listening to podcasts, instant messaging, checking my calendar, and occasionally looking up something on a webpage, so no big deal to me if there’s the occasional slight lag in performance.

The seller included a screen protector, case, SD card, all for free, and promises to send a free bluetooth piece if I leave him positive feedback.  Not bad for customer service from a random asian ebay seller.

I’m really holding out for the gadget I’ve been hearing about for months and totally hooked by, concept-wise, that will be released tomorrow, the Sony i1 new flagship smartphone which is supposed to have an AH-MAZING camera and, more importantly, be waterproof and shockproof.  I am heartily clumsy with my phones and this drop-proof feature would come in oh so handy.  And so nice not to have to put a plastic cover on a nice looking phone.  It’s going to be more like a phablet, but there is supposedly a mini version coming out at just this 4.3″ size I’m loving with the LG, and it will arrive in stores in a couple of months. January at the latest.  So, I’m going to use this LG for awhile because I was totally getting lonely and going through smartphone withdrawal and can’t stand it anymore and need something to swype and chat on, and as soon as the Sony i1 mini is available, I’m probably going to run out and get one and sell this one off.

 

 

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Diaper Bag Discovery Part 2

Sumo by Okiedog!  Convertible backpack/messenger diaper bag–the stroller clips worked awesome on my stroller (no pics right now though).

This bag is stuffed with two dozen bamboo flat diapers and 5 stuffed pocket diapers, plus the changing pad it comes with, and thermo-insulating bottle holder, and accessory pouch.  I’m waiting for the squish to diaper so I won’t get to use it for another few weeks!

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The Joy of Cloth Diapers, Part I – Pockets! Alva Baby vs Sunbaby vs American WAHM-made

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I have about five years cloth experience with my first two kids, but it’s been a long time.  I’m ready to see what the world of cloth looks like nearly a decade later!  I have ordered several options to try when the baby is born, and I’m going to give my first impressions now of the difference between pocket style (i.e. you stuff the absorbency in an opening in the back of the diaper, and then it becomes an All-in-One diaper that you use just like a disposable diaper) diapers ordered from China vs. four different American WAHM sellers I found via etsy.

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On the left, we have a newborn & one-size Alva Baby as well as a Sunbaby one size pocket diaper, and on the right there are four different WAHM diapers.  The top yellow/black peanuts print diaper is from Little Butts http://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleButtDiapers and the white with robots next to it is a one size pocket from Sew Little Stuff http://www.etsy.com/shop/SewLittleStuff and on the bottom row we have the newspaper print medium pocket is from Curious Wee Giraffe http://www.etsy.com/shop/CuriousWeeGiraffe and the oranges print one size pocket is from Mommy Soup http://www.etsy.com/shop/MommySoup !

First, the Chinese companies.

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Sunbaby diapers are only able to be ordered by the dozen and is so very cheap with free shipping, great customer service, an easy to navigate site, fast shipping from China, and in fun prints.

Alva Baby has a lot more options.  The newborn option is adorable,

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but it has yet to be tested (as all of these) and Sunbaby doesn’t have any newborn size options.  The best part, though, is that the regular one size pocket diaper doesn’t have to be ordered with regular PUL, you can order silky soft Minky prints with hidden PUL backing, which is softer and snugglier.  And even better, is that you can order the inner in bamboo fleece so if you aren’t a fan of microfleece (or, in Alva’s case, suedecloth) and want to use natural fibers touching baby, then you have that option.  I never liked synthetic stay dry inners the first two go-rounds with cloth, but maybe this third baby will really need a stay dry liner, so I have quite a few just in case.  If she ends up not minding feeling the wetness, I’ll sell them and convert to a natural-fibers-against-skin system.  If I were to order more from China right now, I’d go for bamboo-inner Alva baby 3.0 diapers (the 4.0 have crazy double gussets that I don’t care about), and only order as many as I need, not by the dozen.

As for the American made ones, the Curious Wee Giraffe diapers have flannel inners, which I don’t see the advantage of, but the price is really low and reasonable, even factoring in shipping, but of course more than from China.

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The Sew Little Stuff pocket seems HUGE but it was the cheapest and probably has the most growing room for very big toddlers, but I imagine I won’t be able to try it on my baby until she’s at least 15 pounds,

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whereas the Mommy Soup one size seems like it snaps down crazy small, so points on design (as well as price!).

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We shall see, though.  The cutest is the Little Butts in adorable cotton print outers (i.e. Hungry Little Caterpillar or Peanuts),

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but I am wary of cotton print outers, which can wick moisture through from the inside, past the PUL, to the outside and onto clothes.  I swore off cotton print outers when my boys were babies, but I just got sucked into the inners.  These are the most expensive, by far (twice the price of the other American made, and four times the price of the Chinese cheapies).

Bottom line is that even though the pretty prints of the American made diapers are aesthetically much more charming to me, if I were to order more, they’d be from China.  I just can’t justify two to four times more in price, especially when I have no ethical issues with the companies Alva and Sunbaby, as far as what I’ve been able to glean from reading around the internet.

In a couple months when I actually have a baby to diaper and I can try out these pockets, I’ll post again about them!

The 17th corner of Hell, or “Choosing a Diaper Bag”

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I’m trying to find a baby bag that both a mom and a dad can live with using, but it’s hard. Honestly, the “diaper bag” prints just aren’t me, for almost any of the brands. If I happen love the print, I know my fiance would never want to carry it, i.e. this very pretty JJ Cole diaper bag

JJ Cole Diaper Bag

Which, unfortunately is useless if you’d like the option of wearing it on your back.  The pretty yellow coordinates well with my stroller, though.

I love the skip hop studio tote

Skip Hop Studio Tote

for all it’s bells&whistles and stylish look, but it doesn’t even have a long crossbody strap to wear it messenger style –which is an absolute  minimum requirement for babywearing, for me. I can’t keep fixing slipping-off straps on my shoulder when babywearing about, the bag either needs to be backpack style on my back (if baby is on front) or worn messenger style and resting on my hip even if baby is on my back.

Strict backpacks aren’t as useful if you are wearing your larger baby on your back a lot, and don’t hang as handily on a stroller handle bar, so I don’t think I want a backpack-only bag. Strict messengers that can never be put on your back/distribute weight over both shoulders seem uncomfy for longer wearing periods (i.e. day out without a car or stroller). And, finally, strict totes/shoulder bags seem truly impractical because you can’t always be stiffening up your right shoulder to keep your bag from slipping off while carrying a baby. Ugh. So, basically, the convertible bag is what I need.

This Babymel Ruby rucksack looks nice and has padded straps and is actually kinda cute and stylish, for a solid black backpack (i.e. I might not mind using it as a cute looking gym bag, daytime-with-laptop bag, or travel/airport bag, after kids are out of diapers):

BabyMel Ruby convertible diaper bag, worn in messenger mode with adjustable long strap option

Babymel Ruby diaper backpack actually looks cute & urban in backpack mode, not like you should be wearing hiking boots or heading off to go camping!

Of course, now we are back at Ju Ju Be BFF price range territory…and the clear advantage of the jujube is the fact that the compartments zip down open so far so you can see everything you need to find, with your two little eyes, and don’t ever need to dig blindly. That is handy. I wonder if this print would traumatize daddy  (IF I could even find one used, since the print isn’t made anymore and I really don’t like any of the prints available currently)

BFF diaper bag in discontinued Pretty Tweet print

or if I could live with how blah the black looks:

Black/silver Ju ju be BFF convertible diaper bag in plain old black with silver accents and lining.

But, at half the price, there’s the Ameribag Healthy Back bag (that I think can be twisted a bit and worn messenger style on the hip if baby is on your back) that I love in lilac, daddy-be-damned:

Ameribag healthy back baby bags

He would never ever want to carry it in lilac and I would be so bummed out at the blah-factor of the black…..

But will he indeed ever be out and about -on foot- (i.e. no car, no stroller) with the baby and need to carry it on his person? He is really a drive-there kinda guy, not into taking the bus …and if he wears her to the park, that’s only 5 minutes from home so he could come back, in case of poop. I can’t think of anywhere besides an airport/overseas trip where we would be without car or stroller for hours and actually need to wear a baby-gear bag on his person. And we have black backpacks aplenty for those rare events.

At least with the Jujube, even if I don’t have any desire to touch it after diapering days are behind us, I can resell it for a pretty darned good resale value on eBay! I have a feeling my Dior, LV, and Gucci bags (or even some non-designer but really pretty handmade etsy leather bags I’ve had custom ordered over the years) will be calling my name at that point and all these features about padded straps, and compartments/ insulated drink holders, etc will seem a bit superfluous. It’s not like we don’t have any weekender bags, duffel bags, or backpacks for occasional trips.

But, I do far prefer the style of the Melbaby Ruby backpack, just not loving the price and not as convinced of resale value, and I wonder if I’d really wish for the wide gaping mouth factor of the BFF when scounging around in the bottom of it…. I really like it though and I’m sure I’d use it a LOT in the coming 5-6 years until I’m truly retired from diapers and babywearing for good, so who cares if I won’t use it or sell it for much after that.

I love the price and color of the lilac Ameribag -and it’s my #2 choice in terms of looks, for my taste. I wish it was a convertible style, though, I’m not sure it would suit for when I want to wear baby in a SSC on my back, or be very useful hanging on the stroller handlebar.

So, to sum up, I’d buy a BFF in black/silver but I can’t stand the thought of paying over 150 dollars for a bag that I think is almost ugly….at that price I want to love the look of it.

I’d buy the Melbaby Ruby convertible bag but it’s so expensive for a bag without as much resale value, I haven’t heard as many raves about it, it doesn’t open up as wide, and ….did I mention it’s expensive? I do think the Babymel Ruby wins on style without sacrificing on features, though, especially in the all jet-black nylon unisex version….if I were willing to pay that much for a nylon black bag.

I’d buy the Ameribag healthy back diaper bag backpack but I am not sure about a bag that may or may not be ideal for wearing a baby on my back, plus how sloppy would it look slung over my stroller handlebar?

I’d buy the Skip Hop Studio tote if it weren’t, well, a tote and offered other strap options.
Then there are pretty etsy options in colors/prints that daddy would largely hate, but oh well:
http://www.etsy.com/listing/127878040/custom-diaper-bag-handmade-boxy?ref=shop_home_active

Boxy convertible diaper bag with waterproof lining and many organizational pockets, by Etsy seller WhistleBritchesBoutiq

(this has vinyl lining for easy spill cleanup and she could custom make it with backpack straps)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/151383347/large-shoulder-bag-diaper-bag-in-navy?ref=col_view

Extra large messenger (16″x13″ and pretty deep) by Etsy seller ChicBazar

(this seller said she could add an outside back large pocket with a zipper and lined in wetbag material for all wetbag-able items to be kept separate there!, plus she could add side pockets for sippies and water bottles in a waterproof lining, all for just 25 dollars more than that 98 dollar price)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/129215573/convertible-quilted-diaper-bag?ref=shop_home_active

Convertible backpack diaper bag similar to PPB Boxy Backpack, right down to the built in changing station, By Etsy Seller GJR Designs

(This is a lot like a PPB boxy backpack)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/99892096/wylder-weekender-in-filigree-empire?ref=col_view

Weekender Diaper Bag Duffel by WylderJane on etsy, located in South Africa

(awesome and glazed/water repellant outer… but a bit too big, and no backpack option; however she does sell backpacks too, just none that appeal to me)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/93769842/canvasleather-backpack-messenger-extra?ref=shop_home_active

Mandy in Canada under store name Versabella on Etsy, sells some pretty phenomenal looking bags, I am sorely tempted

(THIS is insanely beautiful, that’s my kind of print—but….. it’s very pricey and very huge and not sure how organized the stuff inside would be, if you are trying to quickly change a crying infant who is impatient to nurse, it seems like kind of a humongous black hole)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/62278570/sun-daisy-classic-quilted-bushka-bag?ref=v1_other_2

Very unique concept diaper bag by Bushkabag on Etsy, based in Misouri

(she gets points for design originality! The whole bag opens up flat and the inside base is a changing pad)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/155638348/last-one-okinawa-bag-in-sun-yellow?ref=col_view

Okinawa bag by Vallhallabrooklyn on Etsy

(This is expensive, not sure if it would be big enough, not any diaper bag features, but I have the same bag in dark brown and the quality is TDF and this color matches the main color of my stroller and hey, the small size would help me to not overpack)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/96640081/leather-handbagpurseleather-purselarge?ref=col_view

Bag by Ghighiarelli on Etsy, based out of Nevada

(I LOVE the style, the color matches my stroller, and it seems like great dimensions for a diaper bag, even though it’s not one. However, it’s very expensive and no backpack option unless I want to just wear the hand straps as backpack straps which I have done before with duffels)

In case the yellow theme doesn’t make sense yet, here’s my stroller in dark navy and bright yellow, and the stroller will live on the handlebar most of the time, so it looks nice if the bag and carriage don’t clash and even somehow coordinate (obviously black would be fine, too).

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Hmmmm….. I think I’m going insane, and I’ve been researching diaper bags for days now with no clear winner!!!

Edited to add:  just hours after I posted this, I discovered a bag with ALL the features of the Ju Ju Be BFF, at exactly a third of the price!

The Okiedog Sumo diaper bag backpack/messenger convertible!

It’s a messenger, it’s a backpack, it has all the bells and whistles, and it doesn’t break the bank! Yahtzee!!!!!!

The Okiedog Sumo can be worn as a normal messenger style diaper bag

But also, can be worn backpack style!

I ordered the navy, which goes with my stroller and is gender neutral enough for daddy to throw on his back, without being camping-gear rough and masculine.  I actually think it’s cute.  And it matches my Storchenwiege in Leo Marine, quite perfectly (which is the same color).

I saw it for 69.99 on Amazon and on the okiedog.us website, then I googled ‘Okiedog sumo promo code’ to see if anyone had blogged a review about the bag and was offering their readers a promo code.  Turns out there was!  I have absolutely no affiliation with the bag or this Nurse Mommy Blog, but I am glad I stumbled upon this post through my google search. http://www.thenursemommy.com/2013/06/win-fabulous-sumo-diaper-bag-from.html

Because she offers the promo code NM20 to get 20% off!  I tried it out on the http://www.okiedog.us website and it worked!  So the bag becomes 56 dollars, exactly one third of the Jujube BFF, and with every single feature, plus a couple of extras (insulated bottle holder included in the price, stroller clips included in the price, and an accessory bag for diapers or clothes, also included in that price!  All of these things are sold separately with the BFF, and you’ll be spending 200 dollars at LEAST by the end of the purchase to get the same set of stuff…no, thank you, I’ll stick with 56 dollars!!).

I can’t believe I found the answer to every one of my diaper bag wishlist dreams, AND it was the cheapest option, AND through a simple google search I found 20% off!

I actually think the three days of bag obsessing paid off.

Retail High Doesn’t Last

Retail High Doesn't Last

Not what I had hoped for. The Didymos woven wrap ( http://www.didymos.de/en/Babywearing/DIDYMOS-Baby-Wrap-Sling/Jacquard/DIDYMOS-Baby-Wrap-Sling-Ornament-anthracite-with-Tussah-Silk.html ) that was to be my stunning baby carrier of all my carrier dreams, was just not that pretty in real life. It was really dull and gray looking when it arrived. I drove to the post office and I mailed it back to Germany. 😦
I guess I need a colorful one! Now that I’ve been burned, I think that I have calmed down on the urgency front and can wait around awhile longer to find a steal on the secondary market. 🙂 Which then makes me feel proud of myself.

So I added up all my imagined end bid prices for the stuff I’m selling…..

And there would be enough to pay off my credit card. Cool! Fingers crossed.
Instead of waiting to see how it goes, I decided to go ahead and spend thirty percent of the imagined proceeds via credit card charge on an expensive Didymos woven silk/cotton wrap.
prettiest black/white patterned wrap ever
I have been prowling the secondary market for ages (well, three months or so) for a wrap I could salivate over wearing my baby in would go on sale in just the right length size. It never happened. I turned to the geniuses in Germany and a limited edition piece of loveliness and I Ann SO HAPPY right now just waiting for it to arrive.
Who says retail gratification isn’t pure and good? They be wrong….