I'm really into good bags. Bags that not only look cool but also work well for what they are made for. For me it's about Form and Function. If a bag has both I'm a fan.
When I started my search for a diaper bag I had low expectations...I thought I'd have to get a women's bag in black or grey. I didn't realize that they make them in styles for men. Then I started doing research and realized there are some daddy diaper bags out there.
I found 4 bags that are geared towards dads....there are more but if you're looking for a daddy diaper bag I think this round-up will be a good start. These are order of when got to check them out.
Billboard series messenger bag by Dad Gear
Dad Gear actually makes 4 styles of bags; the satchel, messenger, backpack and courier. They all come in a bunch of designs but the first three are available in the billboard series. What I like about the billboard series is that each one is unique...and they remind me of Freitag bags. The front flap is made from the vinyl of recycled billboards and since billboards are meant to withstand the elements these should withstand day to day use with no problem. You can check out their site from the current styles available...they change often.
The actual bag seemed really well made and well thought out. It's made from a sturdy polyester material that should last you a while...it was pretty thick.
I was really digging the two bottle pockets that are accessible from both the inside and outside...what's cool about that is there is quick access when needed. A cooler feature is the that under the front flap is a pocket with a wipe window...it allows you to grab wipes without having to open any pockets.
The bag has the standard features too, including: changing pad, a lot of pockets and a strap so it can hang easily from a stroller. This messenger bag was quite spacious but not too big.
The only thing I wasn't loving was that the front flap, the part with the billboard image, was stuck on with Velcro. I asked the manufacturer why it was like that and they let me know it was for easy cleaning (I can see these things getting pretty dirty) and so you can change up the design if you want. I do have to say that the Velcro on this flap was some crazy industrial strength and I wouldn't fear it coming of by accident.
The billboard series Messenger bag sells on their site for $99. Other styles of the messenger are $82.
Original Diaper Dude bag
Diaper Dude seems to be the most ubiquitous of the daddy diaper bag brands. They have a good number of styles available like a messenger bag, a Diaper Dude deluxe, backpacks and this original Diaper Dude style. I was really looking to get my hands on this bag.
Once I did get ahold of it I wasn't digging this bag at all. I had seen it after the Dad Gear bag which was sturdier. This bag is made from a thinner shiny polyester and I am not sure how it would hold up. In addition it was rather floppy and small. It might be large enough for a couple hours but I'm not sure I'd be able to stuff it with the necessities and add a camera to the bag....and I carry my camera around a lot. Maybe some of the other styles are nicer but the stores around only sold this style.
The Original Diaper Dude has the standard features too: a stroller strap, changing pad, three exterior pockets and one main pocket. It didn't have a dedicated easy access wipe pocket like the Dad Gear one...but I wouldn't have missed it had I not seen it on the other.
This bag sells for $55 while some of their other styles sell for $99+...like I said maybe some of those are better.
Dash Deluxe by Skip Hop
I'm just going to keep this one short...didn't love it...to be fair I didn't give it much time. It was kind of flimsy and pretty small. There wasn't much to it and it looks like a women's bag, but stores will put the black or camo one's in the men's section. But like I said I'm kind of picky...people gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon...
Fleurville DJ bag
Fleurville has a bunch of styles of diaper bags but they are all pretty femme except for this DJ bag. When I first saw it it reminded me of my favorite urban day pack...the Dana Design Double Shot that Staci bought me 8 years ago...it's so well made I still have it and it looks great. Sadly Dana Design was bought by Marmot and while I'm sure their tech bags are great I'm not excited by their urban packs.
This bag has some great features that are not on the others including two fleece lined pocket for sunglasses and such...that would be awesome if I could find any of the many pair of sunglasses I have bought. I realy like that there is a removable insulated beverage holder. And it has a easy wipe access pocket...although it doesn't have a window like that Dad Gear one that rocked.
Other features include: an offset zipper for quick access to diapers, a good size interior space with 2 pockets and an expansion zipper that increases space by 25%. It does not have a stroller strap.
My favorite accessory of this bag, is that it's PVC free...that's cool but I kind of wish it was made of the material they call Re-Run which is made from plastic bottles (Diaper Dude has an eco bag made of a recycled bottle material.) In addition Fleurville was named as San Francisco Bay Area Green Business. When I have a choice I sway towards eco because to me it just makes sense...and I think it's worth the extra cash if any. You can check out their eco practices here.
I do have to mention that Fleurville was bought by JJ Cole...I don't know much about either company but I hope they don't lose this bag when they become one.
The Fleurville DJ bag runs about $89 to $120 on Amazon depending on the color.
Dad Gear's Bill board Series messenger bag
Pros: Sturdy, good storage, awesome access to wipes and nice front flap design. I think you could use this as a personal bag when your kid is older.
Cons: Front flap is Velcro-ed on...but I don't see it falling off.
Diaper Dude Original
Pros: not a lot maybe their other styles are better but I couldn't get my hands on them. People on Amazon give it 5 stars...
Cons: it felt flimsy and was super small.
Skip Hop's Dash Deluxe
Pros: not much here either...I didn't give it much time. People on Amazon like it.
Cons: it seems femmy, nothing really stood out at me as a wow feature.
Fleurville DJ Bag
Pros: eco, I like the sling bag, unique design and sturdy. Would easily convert to a day pack when your kid is older.
Cons: no stroller strap, material seems like it will get dirty...but you can spray it with stuff.
It was a hard choice for me between the Dad Gear messenger and the Fleurville DJ. I wound up going with the Fleurville because it felt super comfy to wear and reminded me of my Double Shot. Plus Jon Stewart supposedly uses one.
Oh...one last thing. There is a lot of chatter these days about blog reviews and such, which ones are unbiased which ones are paid etc...I am going to write up my disclosure info soon and add it to my f.a.q. but here's the deal on this post. I didn't get paid by anyone for these reviews. I did borrow some bags but didn't get any free bags...the borrowed ones are back where they belong.
By kenny friedman on Wednesday, October 28, 2009
If you're coming here on a mobile device and have trouble checking out the blog you can go to http://smonkyou.mofuse.mobi/ it's a mobile friendly link...you should bookmark it. If Blogger ever get's it stuff together and creates a better mobile experience I'll jump on it.
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You can also find some gems on there like The818.com, Little Pinwheel and Baby Dickey.
By kenny friedman on Monday, October 26, 2009
Staci said that I'm already changing with kids. She said that I'm feeling more comfortable with them. I noticed it a little a few weeks back when I mentioned I was good with a 2 year old.
Here's what happened. He wouldn't hold his mom's hand in parking lot so I said to him that I'd hold Staci's. I did and he grabbed his mom's hand. Like I said in the original post don't deserve a Nobel Prize for that but it was a huge step for me.
The thing is I was totally able to relate to his frustration of not wanting to hold his mom's hand. I think we all remember when we got to the age that we felt we could go it alone.
In fact my mom loves to tell the story of when I was a kid and she wanted me to hold her hand in a parking lot. I asked why and she said it was dangerous for me to be in the parking lot without someone holding my hand. So I clasped my hands together and strutted away saying "I'll hold m hand."
Staci also said there were 2 other times I was good with kids. Once was in the store with the little girl who randomly called her doll the name we're gonna use if we have a girl. I honestly don't remember me talking to the girl.
And Staci said there was another time she thought I was good at talking with a kid recently. Again I don't recall it. I think that's because when I do talk to kids that I don't know, I get totally stressed out because I don't know what to say and forget the whole incident.
Friends, family and some readers keep telling me I'm going to be a great dad. It flatters me. I really do want to ge a good dad especially because I said earlier my father was a total ass. But in a way I think he'll be partially responsible for me being a good dad...it will be the only gift he gives my kid.
I did have 3 good male role models growing up...my grandfather, my mom's boyfriend (they are married now) and my Big Brother (from the Big Brother association...great group.) But the biggest impact on fatherhood for me was my father. As I got older I realized I wanted to be the exact opposite of him. And I think that's happened. Like the father in Everclear's 'Father of Mine' he was a great role model of what not to be...I should say that although I mention that song my situation with my father was different.
To lighten stuff up a bit I'll tell you of my recent, unexpected, science experiment. The other day I came home from work and I was super hungry but we had no snacks around. So while I was making dinner I thought I'd have some french fries.
So I grabbed 3 Ore-Ida fries from a bag and put them in the microwave. Now I'm not sure if they still make microwave fries but they used to so I saw no danger. And in case you're wondering I wasn't expecting french fry greatness from the microwave.
Any way two of the fries were nearly touching. About 7 seconds in the arced..there was a spark and then a flare up...and the microwave filled with smoke.
The two fries in question were half burnt...or to be optimistic half un-burnt.
I wanted to recreate this but though creating fires from things arcing in my microwave isn't the best idea if I want to keep said microwave. But I think this could be the next YouTube sensation. So if you try it and film it please attribute to me and send a link. Kids don't try this.
FOUR: Another guess on the babies gender. We went out for Chinese food this weekend. Staci was a bit dizzy so I grabbed her a fortune cookie. The word to learn on the back was daughter. After the meal she got another cookie...the word on the back was January...hmmm...will the cookie be right? The Chinese gender chart says boy...
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By kenny friedman on Saturday, October 24, 2009
I want to thank everyone who entered the giveaway and checked out Orange Rhino's stuff.
Using random.org the winner was chosen this morning. Number 23 came up and that was a tweet by @poshlittle (I counted the comments first then added the tweets after that since comments were method 1 and tweets method 2.) She will get a onesie or shirt of her choice.
I am working on a couple more giveaways and I think they're all good but there is one I'm working on right now that I am super psyched about.
So please keep reading and look out for those. I hope you continue to enjoy my blog.
If you were digging the Orange Rhino stuff please tell your friends and if you're wondering what my fave is it's the Funky Owl. We have a shirt and bought a hoodie for a friend.
OK so I'm a bit of a design geek and Staci is too when it comes to the house...having this kid is bringing it out a bit more.
So as we start to fill the baby bedroom we're using it as an excuse to get some cool looking things. As you may have read I'm a fan of Eames stuff so one of our must haves is the Eames Molded Rocker aka rocking armchair rod (RAR). It's a really nice low rocking chair. And I need to stress low because some folks don't realize it's height. But really you wouldn't want it higher because it's a rocker.
Any way the chair has beautiful form. While the original was made with a molded fiberglass seat they are now made of plastic...not sure why that is...maybe fiberglass is bad for you or the environment. The base is chrome that lead to maple legs.
Like the Eames molded plywood chair this one is super comfy.
But here's the deal. This is going in our baby room and that baby will grow and become a kid who will draw on, paint on and if it's like me pretty much destroy furniture. So Staci and I weren't comfortable with throwing down $500 on the Herman Miller version from Design Within Reach.
As much as I love and respect well designed furniture like this we started looking at knock offs since it will be in a kid's room. We found 2 knock offs, I'm sure there are many more. Both are a tiny bit smaller than the original but we're talking an inch at most.
The first was from Advanced Interior Designs. They have some really great looking stuff but it's in California so I haven't been able to check out quality. The price there was lower at $299.
Then we happened upon one on Sears.com, yeah Sears. The price was much lower...about $130. So thinking that this will be living in their room, and maybe destoyed at some point, we decided to go for this one. The quality is not the same as DWR...we didn't think it would be. But the chair seems sturdy. Maybe if you're a bigger person the plastic would be too thin but it is great for us. Plus it leaves us with cash to splurge on the nicer furniture for the rest of the house.
So now you know you have options...you can get some good design at whatever price you desire.
Oh...and for you UK folks I found this awesome version that is padded...I might need to have this one shipped across the pond...super cool.
We knew basically how we'd decorate...no crib because we're doing a Montessori style floor bed....no chest of drawers because we're doing a closet system and probably won't get a chest until we get bigger kid furniture...we'd add a shelf system and seating and such.
We planned to be way ahead in getting the room done...but things came up...travel, friends etc and the room set aside. That was until Friday when Staci got the bug to get the room together.
After ditching a shelf unit from Room and Board we headed Ikea for something that worked better. It might seem odd to trade down, but whatever...the piece we got has good clean designed lines and is exactly the size we need.
Here's the skinny on the why of a shelf unit...this is coming from the husband of a Montessori teacher...not someone who was schooled in the method, so it's kind of the lay person's view. To oversimplify, once the baby starts exploring the room he/she will be able to grab stuff that is age appropriate...that means some of the stuff here will be moved until it's the right time.
Having stuff out in the open allows the baby to explore it's surroundings and builds it's sense of independence. It's especially good because once the baby can come off the floor bed when it wakes up it will be able to occupy itself instead of waking us...but I'm sure it will wake us.
But for now the stuff if mostly for us...stuff we think looks good.
We really haven't done much...that's the only thing in the room now. But we have an awesome rocker coming and just ordered the mattress and bedding. Then we will add a mirror and bar...it helps with movement. We're going to add a cute chair that belonged to Staci's dad, and we'll add a little side table. At some point I'll paint the room a lovely shade of white, over a less lovely shade of white, and get the art going.
We only made a small step but we now have that momentum we need to get the room done...and we're feeling great about it..and the good thing is we're still pretty ahead of the game.
Made from organic Egyptian cotton these four anthropomorphic veggies
are super cute. The carrot, beans and tomato are made of kind of a jersey type material, but a thick quality knd of jersey that should hold up well. The mushroom is made of a terry cloth like material so it has some nice texture. They all come in a little wooden crate.
Not really much to say about these...you can feel good about our baby playing with them, chewing on them and such because they are all organic cotton including the fill. And the crate is finished with lin seed oil just waiting to be gnawed on by your little one.
Plus it could make your baby love veggies...maybe if I had these as a kid I wouldn't hate mushrooms because that's my second fave after the beans.
Under the Nile also practices good eco and fair trade policies and supports the '13 Villages Project' which does great things for the people who make their product.
By kenny friedman on Wednesday, October 14, 2009
For the folks who have been reading for a while you know that we have no idea if we're having a boy or girl because our pre-kid refused to uncross it's legs during the ultrasound. If you haven't read the story you can check it out here.
But we have 2 new guesses on what we're having.
The first is from the kids in Staci's class. They are super interested in her pregnancy. One has even offered a pillow and some carrots to the pre-kid so it would be comfy and well fed. Yesterday the class wanted to take a vote on if it will be a boy or girl. It was a landslide: 15 for boy, 1 for girl. No recount needed.
The second guess came from a shirt we got. We registered at a local store called Pacifier. They sent us a little package after we registered. In it was a Mysterio Predicts Your Child's Future shirt...they come sealed and you get to open to see what he predicts. When we opened ours it read Romance Novelist.
While I am cool with my child becoming whatever it wants, I do admit I'm a bit disappointed. One of the shirts you can get is Criminal Mastermind...that would have been so cool. But just because our child is destined to be a novelist doesn't mean it can't moonlight as a criminal.
Early this week we went to a good friend's house, she has 2 kids, 19 and 16. Staci told her we were thinking of taking a birth class. I've heard a bunch of things about these classes...it's mostly that they are a waste of time.
Our friend agreed the class is a waste...here is some of the wisdom she gave us.
On burping the baby: you don't really need to do it like you did before...the new bottles make it less necessary...you know what you're doing with that, you don't need to learn.
On bathing the baby: you put the baby in the cute whale tub...the baby hates the cold water...you fight the babies squirming and it comes out clean.
On labor: Kenny will tell you to breathe...you say shut the fuck up...and then you have the baby.
And that realistic outlook and sarcasm is why she's our friend...
The Old Man:
This weekend we went to my hometown and got to spend time with my family. My grandfather (96) was so excited to see Staci pregnant. When he saw her he smiled, looked at me and said to her, "you're not big at all." Then he said it two more times both while looking at me. It kind of looked like I told her that she was big. I have said some bad stuff but this was one thing I didn't say.
He then was discussing our ages, me 36 and her 34, which in his days was super late to have a baby. He told me that I'd be too old for the PTA...not really sure what that meant...I'm thinking he meant I'd be the oldest...we'll see.
He was also giddy about his new girlfriend.it was cute. She's a bit younger then him at 91 but that shouldn't be a problem. The cool thing is that they dated 70 years ago.
The Random Girl
While home we went to a local kid's store. There was a girl there who had a doll in a stroller. My mom asked the girl what her doll's name was...let's pretend the girl answered "Matzoh"...my mom then looked at Staci and said how about "Matzoh" if it's a girl...Staci said that is the name we have picked out for a girl (didn't realize we hadn't told her.)
Then Staci asked the girl's mom if she knew a "Matzoh" from class or anything...the mom knows no one of that name. It was freaky.
By kenny friedman on Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I'm a finalist for The Bump's best blog award in the Daddy blog category. Normally I would say vote for me...but I just checked out Matt Logelin's blog. His story is both heart wrenching and heart warming. If he wins he will double the prize money and donate it the foundation he started in his wife's name (I'd be selfish and buy a lens.)
So head to The Bump and vote for Matt's Blog: Matt, Liz and Madeline.
Then because you love voting head over to the Pregnancy blog category and vote for one of the friend's of this blog: The 818 or Baby Dickey.
These are her answers with some notes from me in green.
How far along? 24 and a half weeks
Total weight gain/loss: It's all good.
Stretch marks? No. I use Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter. I just learned stretch marks are hereditary...I think that's kind of weird.
Sleep: Not sure what that is.
Best moment this week: Seeing my belly move when the baby turned.
Movement: Tons...see above.
Food cravings: Spaghetti O's, hot or cold and Honeycrisp apples. I'm a bit pissed that grocery stores around here import their Honeycrisps from other states when they were developed here.
Gender: I think it's a boy. I have no inkling on what the pre-kid is. I don't understand how people do.
Labor Signs:. Nope.
Belly Button in or out? The former innie is poking out a bit. Not even close to outtie. It's a bit Snork like. My favorite Snork was Allstar Seaworthy, but I suppose that's the obvious and boring choice.
What I miss: Where do I start? Sleeping on my stomach, sushi and soft cheese are some of them.
What I am looking forward to: Giving the baby a kiss.
Weekly Wisdom: Short socks, ankle and below, work best with swollen feet.
Milestones: Actually seeing my belly move when the baby moves and the baby feels higher than before.
By kenny friedman on Monday, October 12, 2009
I've mentioned before that I'm not a huge fan of a lot of the baby and infant clothes that I see out there. It's just not my style and I don't get most of it. So when we found out we were pregnant I was worried that I'd have to design and print a bunch of stuff myself. That would probably leave our child running around either naked or in plain clothing because I'd never get to actually doing the design.
Then Staci found some really great stuff out there. I was psyched to find out about Orange Rhino. It's the stuff I would design if I designed clothes, so I'm glad they are doing the work for me.
What's even better is they've been cool enough to help me out with my first giveaway contest. The winner will get a onesie or shirt of their choice.
But first, here's the lowdown on Orange Rhino:
They are a husband and wife team.
They screenprint their designs on organic and ultra-soft cotton onesies (one-piece bodysuits), lap tees, and hoodies from American Apparel for comfort and durability.
Everything is made in the USA and Fair Trade.
They use organic clothing because it makes the best gift for baby showers, new babies and kids (particularly for the eco-friendly mom).
You can find their stuff at their site or baby boutiques in Minneapolis, and Minnesota suburban gift stores, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Australia.
So here's the deal with the giveaway:
Prize: A onesie or t-shirt of your choice (in stock item)
How to enter:
There are 2 ways to enter. You can and should enter both ways.
Method 1 – Follow this blog on Google Connect or follow the feed and leave a comment letting me know your favorite of the Orange Rhino designs. If you already follow you can just leave a comment. Please make sure you have set your up Google Connect profile with a valid email address so I can contact you. Or give me some way to get in touch with you.
Method 2 – Tweet about this giveaway. The tweet must include 3 things: @orangerhinokids, @smonkyou and a link to the giveaway. You can use this tweet or create your own (as long as you include those 3 things.)
One winner will be picked via random.org after 5PM (CST) on October 23. I'll contact the winner and then announce it here. Good Luck.
've done a lot of stupid things in my life; pretty much all my hair cuts in high school, some things on bikes that left me scarred and broken, snorting citric acid on a dare in 8th grade (although I did make $10 for that) plus a bunch more but I don't know if the internet would be able to handle the memory it would take to write them down.
Spending $39 ($44 including shipping) on a set of 12 wooden blocks is the latest. I know these are going to get dinged, bitten, slobered on, drawn on and lost but until that happens they will look beautiful on the shelf.
Produced by House Industries, one of my fave type houses, this set of wooden blocks is (are? I mean set is singular but blocks are plural...hmm) really unique. The lettering comes from Photo-Lettering, Inc. (PLINC) which was a lettering giant from 1936 to 1997. You've probably seen there work all your life but not known...most font houses are usually unsung heroes. You can get a little bit of their history here and see some of their catalog here.
Any way here's the low down on the blocks:
- You get 12 beautiful blocks in that sit in a frame
- They are printed with non-toxic, child safe, lead-free inks
- Made in the USA
- Made from replenishable wood
- And they are the standard 1.75" size
- I also like that on 2 sides they have a type image so it's like a puzzle
One last thing...the drop cap 'I' in the beginning of this post was not made by PLINC, it was designed by Jessica Hische an illustrator who started a daily drop cap project. She's releasing a drop cap a day for folks to use on their blogs etc. You may also recognize her work from my alphabet poster post.
Before Staci got pregnant she would always be under a comforter when she slept even when it was the summer. At most in the dead of winter I wold be under a thin fleece blanket, but usually it was just a sheet. Now she's warm when she sleeps and is usually under a sheet, but I'm sleeping under a blanket. It makes sense that her body temp would change but makes no sense tha mine would.
Based on some of the things we're getting our baby I fear it will be a design snob.
Radiolab recently did an interesting story about babie's brains. One thing I learned is that when a baby is staring at you and you think it's super cute it's really just a lapse in the brain. To over simplify it the brain is switching from the primal older part of the brain to the modern thinking part of the brain and it gets stuck...so you think it's staring lovingly. Sorry...
I was really good with a 2 year old this weekend. I'm not saying I deserve a Nobel Prize, I would accept if offered, but it shows I'm changing around kids.
I once again said something I shouldn't have. Staci said something like, "I've been really good so far during the pregnancy, I'm not hormonal at all." to which I replied "yeah, I'm actually surprised." There may have been something lost in translation.
I just heard that some insurance companies consider ADD a pre-existing condition, along with things like being abused or being a Fireman. That means my kid is f-ed because I was diagnosed with ADHD before it was cool...so I wouldn't be surprised if my baby has it. A pre-kid with a pre-existing condition.
Speaking of that when I used to teach snowboarding I was on a lift with a 10 year old who I could tell was very ADD...he was like a mini me. It was exhausting talking to him the short ride up the tiny Minnesota hill...it made me think how hard it was for people to deal with me when I was young. At that moment I realized how amazing my mom was that she was able to deal with me...I'd say more but she reads this and I've probably already made her cry.
And last, if you like this blog please click the logo below. It gives me a vote, all you need to do is click...pretty easy. If you don't like the blog, and I know some who don't, you're still welcome to click and vote...thanks.
So we'll play real music that's kid friendly. Jack Johnson, She & Him and other stuff that's semi-mellow but good.
But what to do when you need good lullaby stuff and you don't want to have to hear Humpty Dumpty or Mary Had a Little Lamb a million times?
That's where the Rockabye BabyCD series comes in. It's lullaby versions of music you actually want to listen to. From bands like Green Day, Coldplay, Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins and the Pixies.
One of my favorite songs in the collection is the Pixies's Where is My MindTo me it was always a great song. Then 'Fight Club' came around and made it a bit creepier yet empowering. The Rockabye Baby version takes it to a totally different level. It makes it super sweet.
Check out the whole collection of CDs, but listen to the samples before you buy. I was disappointed by the song selection of U2. And I'm not a fan of how the Nirvana and Ramones songs sound. But there are some real gems. I'm a little bummed they don't have a version of Clash songs, and would love to hear some Stone Roses, but they probably weren't popular enough.
Oh and if you don't consider music gear then I think you should buy an iPod for your baby. Our kid already has a Touch and a Nano we rarely use. One lucky kid.