This Madewell bag + office life

August 4, 2014 |  Category:   happy purchases life


Can a bag change your life? Seems silly, but at the moment, I feel like this Madewell tote has. (by the way, this post isn’t sponsored, nor was the bag comped. Sometimes I feel like you need to clarify these things these days). ANYWAY. Some things about working in an office have changed since the last time I worked in one, which was a 6 week gig when I was 7 months pregnant with C. For one, everyone carries their laptop to the office every day where I’ve been working and I found myself lugging mine around without an appropriately sized bag to carry my computer in. I was using various cheap canvas totes everyday when I started looking for a sturdier bag. Aside from the fact that is was big enough to hold a laptop, I wasn’t totally convinced that this leather tote would be the answer when I bought it. It was a bit of a splurge, but I’ve been carrying it around everyday, and after a month, I’ve decided that I LOVE this bag; it’s the best purchase I’ve made in a long time. It doesn’t make carrying around a laptop any less heavy, but it’s been pretty damn perfect so far for everything.


The other thing that’s changed about office life is that people just group chat with each other about everything all day long, even though the team sits in close proximity to one another. We have meetings when we need to brainstorm/ review/ discuss, otherwise all communication is basically in chat. One of the reasons is so that everything is archived and on record, but still! Texting the person next to you to see if they’re ready to go grab lunch? So weird, and yet 2 months later, so natural. What.
During meetings, the whiteboard is used for note taking, and then we all take photos of it on our phones to save the notes and share with one another. Technology is funny. It’s interesting to observe how it’s changed our behavior.
Speaking of lunch…I was never an out to lunch every day kind of person when I used to be an office worker bee. I’d either bring food from home or buy salad making ingredients for the week with my coworker and we’d make our own salads. It’s been kind of fun eating lunch out a few times a week since it’s something I never do, but now that’s it’s been 2 months of lunches, it’s getting expensive and some of the novelty has worn off. I’m also not used to eating such a huge meal in the middle of the day. I work with all guys (that’s a tech startup for you) and the ordered lunches are big and there are unlimited snacks in the kitchen and with all the sitting and snacking and eating all the day long…well, you get the picture. Makes me want to jog around the block a few times.

But the coffee! Ironically I was not a coffee drinker at all when I lived in the NW. It was working in an office 14 years ago that made me the coffee drinker I am now. Learning how to make an espresso or a cappuccino on a $13,000 La Marzocco machine (I googled the price. I had to) is all kinds of win. Getting the foam just right is challenging, but I’m working on it.
One thing that hasn’t changed? The AC. Offices are as cold as ever. No matter what outfit I’m wearing to the office, I’ve got a wool granny cardigan on. Makes that moment you first walk out of the building and into the heat of a summer day pure bliss.

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  • wilhemina August 4, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    I almost didn’t comment on this post, even though I’ve been dying to get that tote for months and I’m sure you just catapulted me over the edge. I decided to comment because I read your post about blogging and what to say and what next? I’ve read your blog off and on for about 5 years. I don’t have kids but hope to and I like reading your posts about the honest challenges and myriad decisions of parenthood, fashion, and buying grown-up furniture. I’ve struggled myself with what to share online. Not sure if things are changing completely but I just want to say that I enjoy this blog. Also, J.Crew just had an advertisement titled Woman vs. AC dubbing summer indoor sweater season.

  • Pink Ronnie August 4, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    I got this bag as my Mother’s Day gift this year, and I too adore it. Have it with me right now in fact as I work from my ‘cafe office.’
    Ronnie xo

  • Jenna August 4, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    Ha! I think this confirms my guess that a lot of people actually have this bag!

  • Marlena August 5, 2014 at 9:57 am

    I got the Madewell tote in white last year and really like it. My only beef is that the straps shed the first year on my shoulders/sleeves, but that has stopped. Good size – great for work and weekends.

    • Jenna August 5, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      I haven’t experienced that about the straps yet, but I could see how that happens.

  • Dee August 5, 2014 at 10:27 am

    I’ve been lusting after that bag for a while too! Even more since I started working from an office again this summer. I saw a similar, less expensive one at Nordstrom and I’m trying to decide if to splurge or save. Hm.

  • Courtney August 5, 2014 at 11:12 am

    I’ve had this bag for around two years now (I think?), and it’s definitely a game changer. I actually haven’t carried another one since getting it. Glad you’re enjoying office life. So envious of the coffee machine!

    • Jenna August 5, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Yeah, I can see how this will become the only bag I carry now.

  • Colleen K August 5, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    I’ve loved that Madewell tote for so long but could not get over the brown handles. I don’t do brown – not in clothes, not in shoes, etc. But, Madewell recently came out with an all black version and I hoover over the “add to bag” button every other day or so. Where is the 30% off coupon when I need it??

  • Karen August 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    I put this bag in my shopping cart at least once a month and then decide I don’t need it. Now, I’m really feeling the urge to buy it again. I’m just worried it will become a “black hole”. Do you find that you lose your things in it?

    • Jenna August 5, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      I understand the black hole concern, but this isn’t generally a problem for me because I don’t carry to much in the bag and the other bags I have used in the past didn’t have many compartments either. It does have one interior pocket which I find super useful, then I throw other small things in another small zippered pouch.

  • Marta August 5, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    And this is why I love your blog. Even the daily stuff is interesting and to the point. By the way, the chat communication and lunches made me laugh out loud – just the same here, on the other side of the pond… But I still prefer talking to gchat and email, happily feeling old about it:)

  • Joya August 5, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    I really only read like two blogs, and yours is one. Just wanted to say that. Also, I haven’t worked in an office since 2001…. (Woah)

  • Mette Camilla August 6, 2014 at 3:23 am

    Such a great looking bag. Got my eyes on The Berkeley Tote in brown. Oh so nice! It is a pricy bag, but I’m sure it’ll last for years. But they don’t ship to Denmark. :-(

  • Kat August 6, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    I’ve been going back and forth about this bag too and have worried about the “black hole” effect. I’m about due for another bag. Have you tried the leather Baggu one? I haven’t seen in person, but I go between that and the Madewell one for my next tote purchase. I love their patent and leather skimmers.

    • Jenna August 7, 2014 at 1:21 am

      i haven’t seen the Baggu one. As mentioned above, the black hole effect doesn’t bother me, particularly since I never carried bags with lots of compartments. Good luck with your decision!

  • Lulu August 6, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Have you seen the Whipping Post tote? If you like a brown tote, check it out, its a sturdy can-stand-on-its-own tote.

    • Jenna August 7, 2014 at 1:22 am

      I just looked it up and yeah…that’s a good looking bag! This madewell bag is a tad bigger though which is key since I bought it to lug around my laptop.