Archive for March, 2010

Confession: I am not a small-cute-handbag girl.

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

It seems as though there are several handbag-carrying types. We have a friend here at English Retreads who carries everything she needs in her wallet, but carries a bag because… well, we really don’t know why, but she does and ends up filling it with anything that comes to hand on her kitchen counter to fill it up, so that it doesn’t look empty. She has a very cool stash of unexpected things that would guarantee her a place on the old Price is Right.

I am a pedestrian, and I end up carrying all kinds of things around town with me, just in case, even though I would prefer to travel light and carry a cute bag. So although I wish I were the small bag type, I’m not. I need something the size of a small duffle that I can sling over my shoulder because of course I need both hands free to dig into the murky depths to find whatever I need (usually my wallet) that has managed to vanish into the chaos within.

Some of you know what I mean. The following is a not-so-short summary of what travels with me on any given day.

There are the necessities: wallet, sunglasses, phone, keys, business cards, a little cosmetics case and an iPod. Then there are the almost-necessities that I guess I could live without, but would end up missing or mooching off someone else if they weren’t at hand: mints or gum, tissues, lip gloss, hand lotion, a pen and a little notebook to write down all of those details that I can’t keep in my head (directions, the name of a recommended restaurant, phone numbers, store hours and grocery lists).

Then there are the items that I am willing to carry because they act as a sort of security blanket—the just in case kinds of things that I might need. An extra layer, a sweater or a scarf, to ensure that I don’t end up shivering like a Chihuahua or cutting short any fun I might find because of the crazy temperature swings that can happen here in the mountains. A library book, in case I find myself waiting for a friend, a bus or at a coffee shop with some time to sit and read. A smallish knitting project for the same reasons; I am kind of crafty and I’ve found that I can better tolerate endless lines (at the post office or the DMV) with a project in my hands. A digital camera, to capture the details of my life to share with my peeps living at sea level on the East Coast. And last but certainly not least, a water bottle and a snack, just because.

English Retreads' New Bentley Luxe

New Bentley Luxe

It’s a lot. I can fill a Large Model T Tote so fast, you’d never know that I want to be a small bag type. Over the past few weeks,  I’ve been carrying around one of our new Bentley Luxe prototypes, and even though a laptop is not among the list above, I find that with all the pockets and compartments (12!), I can not only fit everything, but I can find it! While I have not done any formal timed studies, I feel like I’m not holding up lines at the checkout searching, searching, searching for my wallet while making lame small talk and ineffective apologies. I can grab my sunglasses without putting my bag down on the nearest flat surface to swirl all of the contents around with both hands, squinting in the glare.

I wish I were the small cute handbag girl. I’m not. And that’s not going to change. But with the right bag, (for me, it’s really the right number of pockets) things can change for the better.

The blogging torch has been passed…

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

…or the blogging tiara, as I like to think of it—a sparkly accessory I can wear as I type madly away and confound the spell checker.  My name is Kate and I am the new Bloggess of English Retreads.

A little about me: I have been a part of the action here at English Retreads since the end of 2007 and have seen some fantastic developments and worked with a great pit crew. I know the skinny.

I am typically the gal who will answer the phone should you call and I am prepared to provide repair solutions, tracking numbers and shopping advice. Believe it or not I probably know exactly which English Retreads bag your not-so-very close cousin would like for her birthday.

But the breaking news does not stop there.

I am very pleased to have been given the go-ahead to give you all a sneak peak of our newest design. We get a lot of suggestions from our loyal customers, many of them great, some that require a little more time in the hopper before they mature into a bag that you might want to have anything to do with. Our newest invention is the result of many suggestions that have evolved into the new Bentley Luxe.

You all asked for protection for your laptops. Apparently many of you spend even more time than we do at local coffee shops “working.” This eco-friendly limo of laptop carriers has a padded interior compartment with a Velcro enclosure to ensure a custom fit for your laptop.

You all asked for a longer strap that would cross the body of even the largest members of your family, all of them, together, in a group hug. This bag has a longer adjustable shoulder strap with some padding so your arm won’t fall asleep during your commute while carrying more than you should.

You asked for more pockets to keep your stuff organized, for easy high-speed access while driving. Remember: do not remove your seatbelt in order to get into your bag! There is a zippered document pocket to stash important papers that shouldn’t become a crumpled heap at the bottom of your bag. There are credit card sleeves to keep important cards handy and easily accessible so that your interaction with the barista at your favorite coffee shop will become the model of efficiency for all others in line to marvel at and try to replicate. You’ll be able to find your bus pass even while juggling a wet umbrella.

Wait, there’s more!

Then we started having fun: we threw in a water bottle holder (on the outside to prevent spills!); a place to hold your pens so that you can imagine yourself as the rocket scientist you are without the hassle of sporting a pocket protector; a much smarter handle for when you want to carry it like a briefcase and look legit; a cell phone pocket (please, keep it in the bag while driving) and even more cool stuff. You’ll want to check this sweet ride out when it’s released on Earth Day!