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Prize: One (1) winner will receive the grand prize of: (i) a four thousand four hundred dollar ($4400) credit for merchandise offered by hayneedle.com and interior design services for two rooms from Laurel & Wolf.
Nothing speaks of luxury and durability like an authentic leather duffel bag. A sophisticated accessory, it will enhance any wardrobe while communicating value and timeless style.
But not all leather duffel bags are created equal. Cheaply made duffel bags can lead to split seams or cracked leather in a matter of a few months.
Or, like one of my good travel buddies, you could end up with a useless carry-on with broken straps in a crowded international airport.
But you don’t have to fall prey to inferior leather. Instead, read on to learn about the best travel duffel bags of 2019.
Choose the Highest Quality Leather
What should you look for when it comes to finding a high quality, durable leather duffle bag? Start by scrutinizing the leather used to make it.
Full Grain Leather
Full grain leather is the highest quality leather you can purchase. You’ll get decades of use out of it. What’s more, as the bag weathers, you’ll delight in the attractive patina it acquires.
Age will only continue to enhance its attractive weathered look and sheen, kind of like a fine wine. The story of high-quality leather is one of patience and craft. But as you’ll come to find out, the process proves worth the lovely end product.
The same doesn’t prove true for inferior quality leather such as bonded leather or split leather. Bonded leather refers to the manufacturer’s practice of bonding patches of leather together using plastics and chemicals.
The result? A product that lacks full grain leather’s durability and beautiful appearance. What’s more, it won’t have the inviting smell of high-quality leather.
Split leather refers to the practice of separating the leather from the grain at the grain junction. This result in a lower quality material that lacks durability. Manufacturers sometimes coat it with a polymer to mimic the look of grain leather.
Evaluate the Hardware
Besides the leather material used to craft the bag, you’ll also want to check out the hardware. Make sure the handles, locks, and buckles demonstrate sturdy craftsmanship.
And don’t forget about the quality of zippers. They will make or break a good bag. Avoid plastic zippers, which won’t stand up to wear and tear. Instead, go with metal zippers such as YKK.
Scrutinize the Craftsmanship
All of the quality leather and hardware won’t make up for poor craftsmanship. Look closely at the seams and stitching. Quality stitches will appear small, tight, and barely noticeable.
They should also look consistent. Besides checking the craftsmanship on the exterior of the bag, don’t forget to examine the bag’s interior seams and lining. Look for first-rate material choices and quality stitching.
Select the Best Leather Tanning and Color
The two primary types of leather tanning are:
- Vegetable tanning
- Chrome tanning
Vegetable tanning represents the more eco-friendly approach but one only used in the production of about 10 percent of leather goods. The process yields a thicker, stiffer, more durable product.
You’ll also prove pleasantly surprised by the luxurious leather smell and attractive patina. But you’ll pay for the process. Leather items tanned using natural materials cost more than their chrome tanned counterparts.
Approximately 90 percent of leather products undergo chrome tanning, a process that proves less expensive than vegetable tanning. But it also results in a less desirable product.
In terms of color, quality leather items will range in hue from tan to dark brown and black. For a polished, professional look, always go darker. Dark brown, in particular, will stay beautiful and elegant looking even after a decade or more of use.
Here are some more tips to ensure you look polished and professional no matter where you go.
The Best Travel Duffel Bags of 2019
Now that you have a thorough understanding of what to look for in a high-quality leather carry on bag, let’s dive into the finest pieces on the market. Each of these nine bags boasts quality craftsmanship and the finest materials.
1. A Made in Tuscany Leather Doctor Bag
When it comes to classic pieces with charming vintage appeal, look no further than the top-notch craftsmanship of a Made in Tuscany Leather Doctor Bag.
Crafted from the finest leather with an eco-friendly vegetable tanned patina, you’ll delight in the dependability and beauty of these leather bags. From their classic linings to antique hardware, they take leather duffel bags to the next level.
And you’re sure to be pleasantly surprised by each bag’s affordability.
2. Coach Explorer Bag
Made of buttery calf leather, this durable carry on features a variety of zip pockets for convenience, a zip closure, and an interior fabric lining. It meets TSA regulations for size and also comes with a detachable nylon strap, luggage tag, and padlock.
3. Bottega Veneta Nero Intrecciato Medium Duffel
Manufactured for durability and ease of travel, this black beauty will last for decades.
It comes with two interior pockets, a detachable canvas shoulder strap, and a lock. Few travel bags appear so stylish yet perform so durably, which is reflected in the hefty price tag.
4. Thom Browne Pebbled-Leather Holdall
For a distinctive look that you’ll never lose sight of in the airport, check out this gorgeous bag featuring racing stripes. The three-stripe pattern proves eye-catching and will help you find your carry on in a sea of luggage duffel bags.
It boasts a handy luggage handle and retractable wheels for days when you need to fill it to capacity.
5. Barneys New York Leather Duffel Bag
Designed by Barneys’ in-house label, this bag comes available in brown or black with goldstone, polished hardware.
It features a black twill lining and plenty of room to stow all of your belongings. It also comes with a detachable shoulder strap.
6. Leathario Rolling Duffel Bag
This leather bag combines classic appeal with modern convenience. Its bottom compartment allows you to separate items such as toiletries or shoes from the main compartment, and its wheels and retractable handle make it a practical option.
7. Hook & Albert Black Leather Garment Weekender Bag
Few bags prove more convenient when it comes to overnight travel. It offers a garment section capable of stowing up to two suits as well as sleeves for shoes. Belongings remain secure because of the top zip enclosure and zip pockets.
8. Samsonite Leather Checkpoint Friendly Brief
Do you travel for business? Then, this bag’s for you. This sleek, professional-looking carry on includes lots of room to keep your business items organized and safe.
You can stow your laptop in the 15-inch padded compartment as well as use the interior pockets for a phone, pens, and business cards.
9. Grand Voyager 2 Bag
The Grand Voyager 2 holds its shape and boasts clean lines and modern leather styling. It contains handy zippered pockets to organize pens, business cards, your phone, and important travel documents including your passport.
The Best Travel Duffel Bag
The best travel duffel bags represent an investment. But they’ll last for decades, growing more attractive with age. Just follow the tips above to find a bag that’ll go the distance for you.
The right travel bag will help you stay organized, stylish, and ready for whatever travel throws your way. Read on for more ways to take the stress out of your next work trip.
Minimalist has taken the world by storm. From fashion and home design to marketing, the minimal way of life is popular across all industries. For millions of people, it’s not just a trend or a passing fad, but a lifestyle.
Homeowners worldwide are embracing this concept. The minimalist aesthetic is functional and visual appealing. Imagine a home with sleek lines, streamlined furniture, light colors, and well-defined shapes.
Decluttering is a hallmark of minimalism. A cluttered home overloads your senses, increases stress, and affects mental focus. It has a negative impact on your mood, emotional balance, and productivity.
Luckily, it’s never too late to get rid of clutter in your home. Simply follow these steps.
How Does Clutter Affect Your Life?
Need a boost of motivation before getting started? Consider the many ways clutter affects your life. It drains your energy, affects your productivity, and interferes with your sleep.
The average American household spends more than $1,700 on clothes each year. Three in four garages has so much stuff inside that there’s no room for a car. Not to mention our TVs, gadgets, kitchen appliances, newspapers, empty bottles, and other items lurking in our homes
Few of these things actually provide any value. For many of us, they’re just things we’re attached to. Perhaps you think of them as treasures or collections.
One thing is for sure: clutter affects our mental and physical health. In a survey, respondents admitted that clutter at home or in the workplace negatively impacts their motivational, emotional state, happiness, and productivity. About 20 percent said that it harms their interpersonal relationships.
According to psychologists, clutter promotes unhealthy eating habits, skyrockets our stress levels, and affects visual processing. In the long run, it contributes to cognitive impairment and age-related memory decline.
But what’s the best way to declutter an overcrowded home? Where should you start? These steps will point you in the right direction.
1. Start Small
Depending on how much clutter is in your home, you might not be able to clear everything at once. Start with small steps and make tiny changes every day.
Clear one area, such as your desk, countertop, or cupboard. Get rid of anything that you no longer need or use. This will be your clutter-free zone.
A few days later, choose another area and follow the same steps. Repeat until your entire home is clutter-free. Don’t try to do everything at once — you’ll most likely lose your motivation and give up.
One way to get rid of unnecessary stuff is to use skip bins. These are perfect for storing old furniture and accessories, broken pens, newspapers, faulty appliances, and other things that you haven’t used in years.
Consider the different ways skips can declutter and then determine how many skip bins you’ll need.
2. Prioritize and Plan
Decluttering an overcrowded home isn’t as easy as it seems. It could take you weeks or months to get this job done. That’s why you need a plan.
Set specific goals for each room and then come up with a strategy to get rid of clutter. Prioritize the most crowded areas, such as your kitchen or home office.
Let’s say you decide to start in the kitchen. In this case, you may need to organize the cabinets, discard expired foods and spices, throw out your old toaster and other appliances, mop the floors, and so on.
Have a juicer you haven’t used in ages? Put it in the cupboard.
Is your kitchen full of old newspapers, plastic bags, and mail? Designate a spot for these items, such as a basket or storage box, and place everything inside. Store it in a kitchen cabinet or under the kitchen sofa.
Next, head over to your living room or bedroom and repeat the process. Start with a small area and gradually expand your clutter-free zone until the entire room is clean and tidy.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take your time and don’t bite off more than you can chew.
3. Keep Up with the Season
Decluttering isn’t about throwing your stuff away but organizing your space in an efficient manner.
Let’s take your closet, for example. If it’s warm outside, stash your boots, sweaters, and winter jackets in a plastic bin or storage basket. Only keep in your closet what you’ll actually wear in the next few weeks.
When the temperature drops, put away your summer dresses and tank tops and pull out your winter coats. Sort your clothes into different categories and determine what you no longer need.
Remember those old jeans you keep in the closet, hoping that someday you’ll be slim enough to wear them? Most likely they’ll go out of fashion by the time you’ll lose 50 pounds.
Give them to a friend or donate them to a local charity. Another option is to sell them online and then buy a new pair if that’s what you want.
4. Choose Quality over Quantity
Would you prefer to have five bottles of cheap perfumes or a single one that reflects your style and boasts an amazing fragrance?
All those extra bottles take space and clutter your home. Plus, you probably keep buying new ones because you don’t really like what you already have.
The same goes for makeup, face creams, shampoos, bath products, clothes, and so on.
Get rid of the things you don’t really like and treat yourself to high-quality skin care products, fragrances, and cosmetics. Invest in clothes and shoes that flatter your body and showcase your personality.
These items may cost more, but you’ll be pickier about where you spend your money and buy less stuff, which will reduce your expenses — and the clutter in your home.
Start Decluttering Your Home
Stop procrastinating and start decluttering your home today. The longer you wait, the more clutter you’ll have to deal with.
Purchase baskets, office organizers, and other storage units. Make the most out of your vertical space, drawers, and cabinets. When you stumble over an item you haven’t used in 12 months or more, ask yourself if you really need it.
Need some inspiration to organize your basement or give it a makeover? Check out these cool ideas for a basement conversion!
Original man cave ideas are tough to come by, especially if you’re on a budget. But saving money and designing an awesome man cave is possible if you know how to shop and know what to look for.
You don’t want to spend your life savings on a room you’ll use to watch the weekly game–but you also don’t want to build the exact same generic man cave every other has. Part of having a place to yourself is making it yours, after all.
Maybe this is part of your house redesign or your spouse’s dream.
The good news is you can do it without . Here are 8 cheap man cave ideas that will help finish your set up faster than you thought possible.
1. Do Inventory
The best way to save money on your man cave is to identify what you already own that’s going to go inside of your space. There may be some obvious things, like a TV or a sofa, but think about the little things, too. Maybe even do some spring cleaning of the garage or attic.
Before you worry about any other man cave ideas on a budget, see what you can come up with that would look good in your new space. Maybe you’ll surprise yourself by digging out something useful that will make your friends think your space is awesome.
2. What’s Your Space Like?
One more prep tip, then we’ll dive into some original cheap man cave ideas.
Unless you own a huge house with multiple empty rooms, chances are that you have one location for your man cave available: an empty room, your basement, or an extension room like a metal garage (Victory Buildings has some sweet ones if you’re in the market).
Consider your spacing-what do you have room for and what might not fit? Honestly, this is an overrated tip for saving money. You might buy too much furniture and realize you don’t have room for it, then have to resell it or be stuck with it.
Don’t take away from your budget by buying unnecessary things.
3. Thrift Stores Are Your Friend
Hey, don’t judge thrift stores. In terms of do it yourself man cave ideas without going broke, they may just be your secret weapon.
Here’s what you should do: make a list of all the thrift stores in your area and hit them all in one fell swoop. You’ll be shocked how much $100 to $200 can buy you and what people give away to thrift stores.
Seriously–furniture, TVs, movies, carpets. All the big things you need can be bought for pennies on the dollar at these stores. Hit them first.
4. Become A Master Craftsmen
If you want to make the process of building your man cave more fulfilling, considering building some of the elements of it. YouTube is home to hundreds of DIY workshops for building anything from desks to home bars.
You’re sure to find whatever you’re looking for in a video that’s less than twenty minutes long.
Search sites like Groupon and Coupons.com for discounts on some of your bigger purchases. You may be able to save 20% or more on items like TVs or couches by waiting an extra weekend or two for new sales.
Every dollar counts, after all.
6. Man Cave-Share
Here’s a funky idea for how to build a man cave on a budget: pool together cash with some of your buddies and build one together. Seriously, why not get the people who are going to use the space to help chip in?
The truth is, the person that owns the house should probably contribute the most. But you’d be surprised how many friends might be willing to chip in $50 for a minifridge if it means they’ll have a place to drink beer on Sundays.
Food for thought. I mean, Airbnb and Uber did it and that worked out, didn’t it?
7. Sports Equipment Decorations
You ready to kill two birds with one stone? Okay, here goes: garage cleanup and man cave art.
How? Use your old sports equipment to make furniture and decorations for your new pad. Hang picture frames from a hockey stick on the wall or use baseball bats to make something that stands.
You can easily repurpose stuff that has been cluttering the garage by looking at Pinterest or any other site. Just type in “sports decorations”.
8. Save Your Bottles!
Similar to number seven is the advice to repurpose your stuff. Just this time, you’ll be repurposing domestic beer bottles or saving up beer caps.
Seriously, you can make tons of fun man cave art and gadgets out of recycled alcohol vessels. Make a table out of beer caps, lights out of beer bottles, or crush up some cans and make something a little funky.
Even though you’ll lose your $.05 deposit, you’ll save a few bucks by getting thrifty with your leftover beer paraphernalia. At any rate, it’s a good way to set the done for what’s about to happen in the room you’re designing.
Man Cave Ideas, Wrapped-Up
When it comes man cave ideas, the key is to decide on what you can do given the space and budget that you have, then to get creative. Truly, you don’t have to break the bank to build an awesome man cave that your friends will love come over to enjoy on game day.
Some tips we recommend include going to thrift stores, building your own stuff using YouTube tutorials, and making “manly” art with things like beer bottles and old sports equipment. If it’s any consolation, every penny you save can go towards buying a slightly bigger flat screen TV.
For more frugal living and craft tips, check out our website. Good luck with your build.
Are you gearing up for a bathroom remodel?
A bathroom renovation is one of the most popular home improvement projects. Unfortunately, it can also be expensive. With so many materials and fixtures, you can easily run up a high bill if you’re not careful.
But this project doesn’t have to be overwhelming or stressful. We want you to be excited about your new bathroom and do whatever possible to stay on budget. You can get your dream bathroom without spending your life savings.
Read on for some survival tips for how to remodel a bathroom on a budget.
Make a Plan and Stick to It
It may sound counterintuitive, but if you’re not familiar with the remodel process, working with an interior decorator or architect can help you save money in the long run. Yes, you’ll have to pay their fees and that’s an added expense, but they will help you stick to a plan and a budget which can be invaluable.
A designer or architect can work with you to figure out the best approach to the remodel and how to do it in a cost-effective manner. They’ll also have access to vendors where they can likely get discounts on materials and even labor.
They’ll be able to give you options along with the pricing so you can make the most informed, budget conscious decision. Many times when people work with an architect or designer they become aware of options they didn’t even know existed and would not have found on their own.
Construction can be a lengthy process and once it begins, you can find issues you weren’t expecting. A professional can help you troubleshoot these problems and stay on track so you come in on budget and on time.
Don’t Relocate Plumbing
Moving plumbing fixtures like toilets, sinks, and baths can be a huge expense. It’s a much bigger undertaking than simply replacing the materials you have in your bathroom with new ones. You’re reconfiguring the layout of your bathroom and workers will have to do this from the inside out.
Going into the walls and relaying or redirecting pipes can be more disruptive to your project that you were planning.
Figure out a way to accomplish the look you want without relocating major plumbing appliances. This way you don’t have to cut corners when it comes to the finishes you want and you won’t blow your budget on things you can’t see!
Keep Some of the Good Stuff
If you live in an older home, take a visual inventory of the items in your bathroom that may be worth keeping around. Do you have cool vintage tile around your bathtub or shower? Does your vanity have a funky vibe that gives character to the space?
A bathroom remodel doesn’t have to mean overhauling the entire thing. You can make some of those vintage pieces or statements feel fresh just by changing the area around it.
Don’t Go Crazy on Tile
No matter how you cut it, tile is expensive. Not only are you paying for the tile itself which can get very pricey, but you’re paying for the labor to install it carefully. Try to limit the amount of tile you use in your new bathroom and find other materials instead.
You don’t need your bathroom tile to be the center of attention. Try wood paneling on the walls and painting them a different color than the drywall to make them pop.
Pick a couple of places you want to invest in the tile like the floor, the shower or bathtub walls.
If you found a pricey piece of tile you absolutely can’t live without, consider making it the accent piece in between less expensive and neutral pieces of tile.
Cut Back on Countertop Costs
If you’re committed to purchasing a high-quality countertop, there are ways to do so without breaking the bank. First, try to avoid selecting a neutral color. These are the most popular and therefore typically priced higher since they’re in high demand.
Selecting a color outside of this palette could save you some money. You can also select a slightly imperfect piece of marble, granite or quartz slab. This means the piece will have a mark or crack in it but it will be sold at a discounted price.
If you can find a piece where the imperfection won’t catch the eye, you may not even know it’s there at all once it’s installed.
A Little Paint Can Go a Long Way
If finances are limited, don’t forget that a new coat of paint can reinvigorate your bathroom and make it look completely different. If you’re worried about the cost of new countertops, flooring and more, try this approach first.
If this is the only investment you’re planning to make on your new bathroom, don’t cut corners. You should hire a professional to do the job since it will involve getting around lots of small, detailed areas.
Be sure to invest in a high-quality paint. Bathrooms are prone to moisture and mold, so cheaper, low-quality paint will be more susceptible to water damage.
New Fixtures Are an Instant Facelift
Along with a fresh coat of paint, new fixtures are an easy and inexpensive way to upgrade your bathroom. The good thing about a bathroom is that there are so many fixtures!
Not only can you replace faucets and handles but you can also replace towel racks, towel hooks, and light fixtures. It may sound minor but these subtle changes can have a big impact on the appearance of your bathroom.
It’s All in the Details
The details in your bathroom like the grout and caulking can give away its age and serve as a reminder it’s in need of some TLC. Regardless of what renovations or upgrades you decide to do to your bathroom, don’t overlook this area.
These materials get mildew, water damage, rust and more. Grout and caulk are inexpensive materials and can be applied by a handyman or even by you. Cleaning up these lines in the bathroom and adding a little sparkle will make a big difference.
Your bathroom will look refreshed and ultra clean.
If your home was built a long time ago, there is a pretty good chance you have some of the original tile or fixtures in your bathroom. If they look damaged or old, don’t just toss them aside in favor of purchasing all new items.
Some of these are antiques and can be refurbished to shine like new while still keeping a lot of the charm and integrity of the space. If the overall look of your home has a vintage, antique feel, keeping the bathroom in the same vein will make it work with the rest of the house.
There are companies who specialize in giving these pieces a second life and refurbishing them to their original glory.
They can fix cracked or dirty tile on countertops, showers, and floors and restore your original bathtub without having to replace it. Going this route will save you money and you can focus on the things that really need replacing like that old sink and shower head.
Consider Buying Used
You can purchase major and minor bathroom items used and save more money. Sites like Craigslist and eBay sell used toilets, bathtubs, mirrors, sinks, and fixtures that are in great shape and you’ll always spend less than if you buy them new.
If you don’t want to buy the major items used, you can also buy accessories like lighting, handles, towel racks and more.
Do you look like a completely different person in your bathroom mirror than in any other mirror in the house? This is probably because there’s terrible lighting in your bathroom. Fix it!
Investing in some new lighting can not only change the appearance of your bathroom but also your experience there. No one likes bad lighting and spending time getting ready in a poorly lit space won’t make you excited about a new bathroom.
Be sure there’s plenty of lighting and your bathroom is bright. This will also make it seem fresh and bigger. You can find great lighting by scouring sales or at home improvement stores.
If it’s in the budget, you may want to consider putting in a skylight in the bathroom or adding in more windows for natural light. Windows will also help keep the bathroom dry and mold free so it serves two purposes.
How to Remodel a Bathroom: Get Started Today!
A bathroom remodel should be an exciting process and it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. You can achieve the look you want and love your new space by utilizing some of the tips above to save money.
The first step in how to remodel a bathroom is to create a budget and a plan so you know exactly what you’re doing before you get started. This alleviates some stress and makes the whole experience less overwhelming.
Check out the rest of our blog for more money saving tips!