Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: Petunia Pickle Bottom Touring Tote and What's In My Diaper Bag

     First off, let me just say that in our family you have got to be thrifty. Now this doesn't mean that you're a tight wad or cheapskate, it just means that you have to know when to make a good investment in something and how to look for deals. Last year I discovered and am totally in love. Every morning new "events" go live on the site and could be anything from toys, kitchen gear, home decor, party supplies, and my personal favorites- mom gear (everything from high end strollers, to diaper bags, or baby slings), clothing (for babies through tweens and for women including maternity and plus-size), and accessories for moms and little ones. Most things are anywhere from 30%-75% off retail price. I actually got most of the kids' Christmas presents off of Zulily this past season. I also couldn't resist getting a little something for myself.
     Having this many kids this close together, I have gone through my fair share of baby gear and something that I've gone through quite a few of is diaper bags. My last two bags were SkipHop bags and while I love their tons of pockets for organizing, I refused to buy another because on BOTH of my SkipHop diaper bags, the lining ripped and frayed at the seams. The most recent one did within less than a week which is just unacceptable. However, I liked it enough that I continued using it for close to two years. (Like I said, I love those pockets. I'm all about an organized bag. I don't want everything tossed into a main compartment because it inevitably turns into me frantically pulling everything out of the bag to find that one tiny thing on the bottom that my baby is screaming to get right this minute or they're going to die.) I'd been on the look out for a new bag that entire time, but just couldn't find something I liked that I could afford until one day in late November, it happened. A Petunia freaking Pickle Bottom event came up on Zulily. If you're a baby gear or diaper bag geek like I am, then you already know that PPB bags are choice and they also come with a price tag that reflects that. But now, they were on Zulily for a great deal and I took it as divine providence that I also happened to have $20 in Zulily store credit! So I snatched one up!

     They had a few different bags, but I decided on the Touring Tote in Toffee Roll. This bag retails for a steep $149 online, but I ended up scoring it for $54.99 which is about what I paid for my SkipHop of questionable quality. I love that it doesn't scream "diaper bag." It's a beautiful chocolate brown and lemon yellow woven brocade fabric on the outside and a happy lemon yellow on the inside. (If you are expecting and you've never bought a diaper bag before- a word of advice: you do not want the lining of your bag to be dark. I know you're probably thinking it will hide messes and spills, but in reality it turns you diaper bag into a black hole and you won't be able to find a thing.)

     It came with two different shoulder straps, one shorter for use as a shoulder bag, and one longer and adjustable for using the touring tote as a cross-body bag. (I prefer it cross-body to keep my hands free. No bag stays on my shoulder otherwise.) I also comes with stroller clips, a matching lemon yellow changing pad (It's a nice quality, but manages to be small, but also bulky so I don't use it.), and a black plastic wipes case with Petunia Pickle Bottom monogrammed across the lid.

     The pocket on the front is quite deep, going all the way down to the bottom of the bag. I typically keep my phone and my wallet in here for easy access.

     On either side on the outside, there are zippered pockets that are good for holding smaller or flatter objects. In one pocket I keep the shorter shoulder strap so I don't lose it along with a few packets of shout wipes, and in the other pocket I keep a pack of blotting papers, a sharpie or pen, and a pack of Colgate wisps.

     Across the entire length of the back there is a zippered pocket where the changing pad and wipes case are stored. Like I said, I feel like the changing pad that comes with the bag is a bit bulky when it comes to being able to fit everything I need in the bag and it still be able to close, so I don't use it. Instead I keep a small flannel receiving blanket folded up inside to use instead. It's soft, keeps the babies off the cold and possibly icky public changing tables, but still packs nice and flat.

     This is the inside of the main compartment of the bag. Just free in the middle I have a small yellow drawstring bag. It came with the bag holding the stroller straps and longer shoulder strap, but now I use it to hold feminine things and make-up. I also keep with me a burp rag because Nicola is a crazy messy eater, extra formula, a gallon size Ziploc bag with a change of clothes for Nicola and another with a change of clothes for Hickory in case someone's diaper leaks, they throw up, spill an entire cup down themselves, or anything else that can't be cleaned up with a wipe of some sort.

     Here's the inside once the main part is emptied. There is a bottle/sippy cup pocket on either end with an elasticized top, two big pockets on each side, and in one of the big pockets is a small elasticized pocket for holding pacifiers or any other small objects that you don't want to get lost in the bag. Right now I keep Hickory's diapers in one pocket, and Nicola's in the other on one side. On the other side, I use one pocket for Hickory's snacks (currently pouches of banana and Ritz bits), and in the other pocket I keep tissues, saline nose wipes, and anti-bacterial wipes. I always have a bottle for Nicola in one of the bottle pockets and usually I have a cup for Hickory in the other though I didn't have one when I took these pictures.

     The hardware on the bag is real metal and rather heavy feeling, and the zipper pulls are plush filled. Both have the brand's monogram and feel nice and durable and of excellent quality.

      Really quickly, I just wanted to show the stroller straps. It comes with two naturally, one for each end of the bag. They are made of the same material and have have the same hardware as the shoulder straps and attach by wrapping around the handles of the stroller and securing to itself with Velcro. I've only used them once since I haven't needed to use my stroller very much lately. You do have to unclip your shoulder strap in order to clip you bag to the stroller clips, but that's not a big deal to me. I have a pocket on the hood of my stroller that I stuck my stroller strap into and then just clipped it back onto my bag when we were loading everyone back into the van.

     All in all, I love the bag. I love that it's pretty enough to pass for a purse instead of screaming, "I'M A BABY BAG!!!" Since I'm not an over packet and only want the essentials in my bag, it works for me just fine even being used for two kids under two. If you are an over packer or a cloth diapering mama, this probably wouldn't work for more than one child. The quality on everything is exceptional and I don't think I'll be looking to replace it anytime soon. The only thing that gives me pause is the fabric. While it is beautiful, it's not the most durable type of fabric out there. Most PPB bags have a laminated, wipeable fabric outer that has a small patch of embroidery detail and I kind of wish this one was made in that way. It also would be nice if there were metal feet on the bottom to hold the bottom of the bag off the ground when you have to set it down, especially since this bag doesn't have the laminated fabric. Neither of those things is a deal breaker to me, though. At the end of the day, I would definitely recommend it as a diaper bag if you can find one within your budget. I'd never pay over $75 for a bag and really I'd prefer to keep it around the $50 mark, which I did thanks to Zulily!

     Just so you know: I do not work for Zulily. They did not pay me or compensate me in any way to make these statements, nor do I work for Petunia Pickle Bottom and they aren't paying me to say this either. I bought this bag with my own money, it was not provided to me.


  1. I know just what you mean about being thrifty in a non-tightwad kind of way (we're in much the same boat). Life is so darn expensive these days, one truly has to watch what they spend so closely and weigh the value of most purchases very carefully. Over the years, more often than not, I've really found that it pays to spend a little more on great quality, than to save a few bucks and end up with something that barely lasts you a year (or month - as the case may be). It looks like this terrific diaper bag (which looks almost as though it would make for a good camera bag as well) really bits that bill. I don't have kids myself, but will be booking marking Zulily's site in case I need to buy any baby shower gifts this year.

    ♥ Jessica

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