February is always a fun and busy month for me – there’s Valentine’s Day, which I enjoy celebrating (this was the case even when I was still a child and had no romantic interest whatsoever – my Dad used to get me and my brother (and of course our Mom) tokens – not sure if giving your kids a gift on V-day is a common practice or not, but my husband and I give our daughter tokens too); and there’s also my birthday, which I look forward to even more since my husband and daughter go out of their way to make me feel like a queen (more so than usual 😉 ).
Given my passion for handbags and my loved ones’ knowledge of it, receiving a bag as a gift for a special occasion isn’t all too surprising. I already wrote about the Mini Poppy which I got for Valentine’s Day in my last Bag Review. This time, in this Bag Feature, I will cover one of the gifts I received for my birthday – the Kate Spade Rambling Roses Monkey Casie bag.
I’ve been wanting a boxy bag (some people call them vanity case bags) for some time now – something about the boxy shape and the quasi-lunchbox look appeals to me. I wanted to give it a try and looked at some premier designer versions of the design – while I found a few cute, I didn’t find any that called out to me to an extent that would make me want to spend premier designer prices for it. There was a Bally pink boxy bag (I forget its model name) that I wanted a year or two back, but by the time I decided to pull the trigger on the purchase, the bag was no longer available. 😦 I abandoned my boxy bag search for a bit when life happened and other things became a higher priority (which resulted in my bag passion waning a bit).
Fast forward to February 2017 – I decided to resume my hunt for a boxy bag. I then did some research and in the most timely fashion, my favorite bag blog (which has nurtured my handbag love and has really been one of my comfort places for quite some time now – not to mention, it served as an inspiration for me to start my own blog about bags), Purse Blog – which is run by Megs Mahoney-Dusil and her husband Vlad Dusil – released a post called “Rising Trend: Vanity Case Bags”. That proved to be an excellent resource for me as I saw several options of the boxy bag I wanted to try out (feel free to read the post here: http://www.purseblog.com/trends/vanity-case-soft-box-top-handle-bags/). The one that really caught my attention in that list was the Kate Spade Casie bag. I clicked on the link in the Purse Blog post and got redirected to the bag found in the Nordstrom website. While I liked the red and the white choices, I decided to do a quick search on ‘Casie’ in the Kate Spade website to see if there were other options available. I’m glad I did, because the Rambling Roses Monkey Casie popped up. It was adorable! Now though, I had a (first-world) problem on my hands – which one to get? All three options were appealing to me.
This is where my husband comes in. He caught me looking at the Casie bags (he seems to frequently catch me doing some online window-shopping — which means I probably do it a little too often) and asked – “Do you want that for your birthday?” Very direct, and I sheepishly replied, “I’m considering it”
My husband likes surprising me, and while this one would not end up being a complete surprise since I knew he would get me a Casie – there was still an element of mystery in terms of which one he’d pick. He asked me if I had a preference, to which I told him no, as I was not sure which one I liked most. So, he took that as a challenge to surprise me with which option he would pick for me (it was his turn to be sheepish – “If you realize you don’t like the one I picked out for you, we can always return it for another one”).
And that’s how I ended up with my Rambling Roses Monkey Casie. I should have known he would pick that one out for me – we are partial to monkeys, pigs, rabbits and birds after all (it’s a mix of Chinese astrology and family symbolism for us). I have to say I was extremely happy with his choice, and realized I would have eventually chosen that one for myself if he hadn’t.
The Rambling Roses Monkey Casie has the following dimensions, as per the Kate Spade website:
- 6.8″h x 8.8″w x 4.1″d
- 6.8″h x 8.8″w x 4.1″d
- 2″ drop length
It’s made of “crosshatched leather” which to me seems close to saffiano. They “used a stitch-free stacked leather technique to create the applique for a clean, modern look” – if a clean look was what they were after, I think they nailed it. It may be weird to say that considering the design, on paper anyway, would seem a bit busy – there are black and white stripes, and a pink monkey holding a rose on top of it – but for some reason, the result (perhaps due to the technique they applied) was quite cohesive and did give me an impression of being “clean”. In no way was it too busy for me.
The Rambling Roses Monkey Casie has a zipper closure, a top handle and detachable strap. I used the bag for my birthday dinner and it was comfortable and easy to use for the most part – my only complaint thus far would be that the zipper sometimes gets stuck or won’t close smoothly. This happens when one side of the zipper chain is not fully up. Not sure if it’s considered part of the breaking in period, or if it’s more of a “user error” (also known as – I’m the problem 🙂 ), or if this problem is present with just mine, or if it’s really some design defect. It’s not too much of a hassle, though it did get in the way of my enjoyment of the bag by just a little bit. I get that maybe I’m expected to always make sure the zipper chains are upright and ready to be zipped, but I generally don’t experience this problem with my other bags with zipper closure. It would be nice if the zipper chains are in position to be closed smoothly by default, or that they close smoothly even if they are not (as is the case with some of my other bags). Maybe another type of closure would have worked better.
Still, the bag is so cute, with nice pink “Quick and Curious” lining and a good size to fit all my essentials and more, that the sometimes-zipper problem was not a big deal at all in the grand scheme of things. Primarily it was because I didn’t encounter it all the time, and then there was also the fact that the bag’s adorable design and other pros greatly outweighed that one con. The bag is also quite light, and is easy to carry by both handle and strap.
As some of you probably already know, I am a fan of fun bags and this one is certainly that. The Rambling Roses Monkey Casie is a bag that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It comes in a bag type that is getting more and more popular and trendy (and therefore will become more common, if it isn’t that already) – but it manages to stand out with its unique and cute design.
Also – I don’t need to edit the contents of my bag at all when using this, it’s a good conversation piece, and I get a small smile on my face when I carry it using the handle as it gives me a quasi-(adult) lunchbox vibe. Now, the whole adult lunchbox/vanity case bag/boxy bag look isn’t for everyone – so I understand that some people might not opt to get this type of bag at all. If you have been looking for one for some time now (the way I was), then Kate Spade’s Casie gives you several options to choose from. I ended up with the Rambling Roses Monkey Casie, and so far I am enjoying this bag. The charm of this bag is infectious and irresistible.
In closing – the nice thing with Kate Spade is that they have sales and give out discount coupons relatively often, so you can purchase their bags and other merchandise at a good discount if you wait (signing up for their email and mailing list is good for the purpose of keeping yourself informed on this too).
Thanks for reading – until my next post! 🙂