Hudson and Bleecker Shoe Bag Review

After reading about the existence of Hudson and Bleecker travel shoes bags on another blog, I got on one of my kicks where I *had* to have them for my fantasy trips (these are all in my head), wherein I am perfectly coiffed, always well-appointed and organized to within an inch of my life using oh-so-stylish luggage and other assorted travel gear.

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So, yeah, I was determined to buy these and keep them stashed in my closet, probably forgetting about them when I actually went somewhere.

Problem number one was that they were sold out everywhere, including on the Hudson and Bleecker website.

I kept stalking the bags, narrowly missing them on a flash sale site, until one day, they re-appeared ON SALE at the Hudson and Bleecker site.

Normally $64 each, they were now $34. I ordered two.

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These are from the “Cinque Terre” collection and are linen with yellow trim. I was really excited to get them.


I received an email from Hudson and Bleecker a few days later saying that the bags were no longer available. They offered to substitute one of their packing cubes and give me an additional 10% off my order.

There were only two styles of packing cubes to select, one chambray and the other with a floral print.

I wasn’t happy but chose the chambray packing cubes. Supposedly it is the same dimensions as the shoe bag, but with a side zipper instead of one in the center.

One other thing: the packing cube retails for $30. By my estimation, since I had spent $34 x 2 = $68 on the shoe bags, I was already due a refund of $8. If I was supposed to get an additional 10% off the order, that would equate to either $6.40 or $6 more (depending on shoe bag cost versus packing cube cost), so I was expecting to get a total refund of $14 or $14.60. Instead, they refunded me the measly $8, which I thought was wrong.

I digress.

The chambray cubes arrived. I was initially underwhelmed.


The inside has some nice features, including an internal divider (consisting of a slim zippered pocket, which could hold jewelry), as well as another zippered pocket on the other side.

Here are some close up shots of the interior:

I tried them out with some shoes. At first, I used just one pair of heels:


This seemed like poor space utilization, so I tried a few combinations with two pairs:



Two pairs of flats worked the best, but the heels/flats combo was also ok.

I’m going to give these a real life test next month when I take a work trip to a medical conference.









Fact: I own waaaaaay too much stuff.

Stuff I don’t even use.

Stuff I don’t even need.

Stuff my kids outgrew, stopped playing with or never liked in the first place.

And I’m sick of it.

It’s been building for a while, but over the weekend I reached a point where I was ready to divest of significant property.

The major obstacles:

  • It’s overwhelming. It’s hard to find a decent starting point, and there is no space in Fancy Pants Ranch that doesn’t require major decluttering.
  • It’s exhausting. I worked for a few hours on Saturday and accumulated a significant pile (see below), which was rewarding but left me with a migraine.
  • It’s hard to figure out what to do with the excess. I’m still trying to figure this out. Charity Navigator is helpful to try to find a group with low administration overhead (less than 25-30% is supposedly reasonable) and thus more direct giving to recipients. What I really want is for my stuff to go to a good home. While I don’t want any compensation, I do want to know that anyone I give it to (friends included) is happy to have it.
  • I have to get beyond the guilt that a lot of the stuff is still perfectly good. Or even new. This is a hard one. I feel guilty about the excess and waste but am trying to focus on how great it feels to simplify and get organized.

I started with my own closet and posted some of the things online that I wanted to give away. Several of my friends responded within a few hours. Score!

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I moved on to some storage cabinets in our family room that house (read: are totally stuffed with) kids’ toys. Here I had to be brutal, tossing away freebie plastic figurines and random game pieces and piling up gently used toys that they have simply outgrown.

Tip: strongly consider whether you want your kids involved in this! I chose not to, which is a good thing since they tried to pick through the discard pile later on. No take backs!

But all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. The guest room closet is so overstuffed that it may explode (and it’s a walk-in. Argh). Both kids’ rooms are overflowing. The coat closet where I can’t hang more coats. The basement. OMG. The Basement. 

This is going to be quite the project, but I know I’ll be thrilled with the results.


P.S. I am seriously considering hiring a professional organizer to jump start this project. I’ll keep posting about the progress. Wish me luck.


Packing Cubes

For the past year, I’ve been following Travel Fashion Girl, an awesome website that satisfies my dual urges of wanderlust and organized packing.

I particularly love the packing lists that are posted.

Another tip I got from TFG is to use packing cubes to maximize suitcase space and maintain order.

Here’s an example:


These particular packing cubes are from ebags, and a 3-piece set ranges from $15-30 depending on the size of the cubes. I ordered a slim cube set for our recent trip, and they worked great.

Now I’m planning get more color-coded sets, one for each member of the family.

No more scrounging around in the bottom of a messy suitcase for a 6 year old’s last pair of clean “Star Wars” underpants!




One More Thing, #13

You can’t have the perfect bag for your travel clothes and ignore your jewelry, can you? Of course not.

This Boulevard “Victoria” bag hits the nail on the head. It has pockets to keep everything neatly separated, and a monogram to boot. Love. I gave this to my mother and mother in law for Christmas, then ordered yet another for myself. Go quickly, though, they’re now on sale at Nordstrom.


Prep Work

In light of the numerous resolutions I need to make for 2014 (more on that later), I’ve spent the past two days tackling organization projects around Fancy Pants Ranch that have been woefully neglected.

Project #1 was to sort through all of my pilfered hotel toiletries as well as all of the new potions/lotions/elixirs/unguents I received for Christmas or recently had purchased between Black Friday (when all of the irresistible deals start coming around) and now. They’re safely tucked into the guest bathroom, where I can shop from my own closet for the upcoming year (foreshadowing here, people).

Project #2 was to organize the cupboard housing the kids’ art supplies. This cabinet infuriates me like no other, since it rains down crayons, construction paper and rulers on my head the minute one of the doors is opened even a micro crack. Thanks to some plastic bins from Costco (which miraculously fit just right – Note to self: Measure cabinet next time, you got really lucky here), this is how it turned out:


Let’s see how long this lasts…

Project #3 (and the last one for today, I’m sick of this) was to organize my Gift Closet. Another one of my many problems is that I love to buy paper products, like note cards, ribbons, etc. And when I see something that would make a great hostess gift or is something I know someone in my life would adore, I buy it. And then promptly forget about it, since my Gift Closet is a total black hole. The closet got sectioned into areas for ribbons (in a repurposed Easter basket), greeting cards, note cards, wrapping paper, tissue paper, gifts, party supplies and seasonal decor. Seriously, I unearthed some really good stuff, plus I discovered that I am set until 2060 or so in the cocktail napkin and straw departments.

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Time will tell how long this organizational streak will last, but I’d give it at least a half hour or so…