Saturday, February 4, 2012

Brooke Van Gory Designs Review and (lots!) of Giveaways!

If you are a long time reader, you already know how much I love Brooke, and her awesome bags from Brooke Van Gory Designs. I did a review a few years ago on Brooke's new (at that time, anyway!) diaper bags. I was SO stoked to get the bag, and I used that bad boy for over 2 years! Aside from being dirty, it held up incredibly well to lots of use. Brooke kept telling me how awesome her new bags were, and I just thought she was crazy, because I couldn't figure out how they could get better.

Before I jump into the reviews of Brooke's products, I want to mention that she is the featured artist over on Artfire, where her shop calls home! This means her shop is being featured, and there is a pretty sweet interview with Brooke. Who knew her first ever sale was for a set of pirate hair bows?! While I'd like to post the interview here, I think it will make this review a bit too long, so I'm going to link you to it, instead. So, click here to read about Brooke, and about how she settled into creating the epic bags you see today. There might be an entry to the giveaway based on the interview, so make sure you read it! Also... CONGRATS, Brooke! I'm so excited that you are being featured.

So! Let's just jump right into this, shall we? Brooke and I had been collaborating together for a while, just trying to come up with a really fun bag design to review. I love the rainbow skulls from my first bag, but this time I wanted something a little different. Less boy-ish, more cheery and bright. Brooke found an awesome orange with white polka dots fabric, and I was sold. I love polka dots. In fact, I'm pretty sure nearly everything in life could be better with polka dots. Brooke suggested one of her Cirque bags, and I was SOLD! Cirque bags are just like her other diaper bags, they are just multi colored. Which makes them about eleventy seven shades of kick ass. I love anything bright and cheery, and boy, that is EXACTLY what this bag is! Check it out:

I LOVE orange and aqua together! But it gets better...

So pretty!

A purple and raspberry inner! YES! (Does raspeberry sound fancier than pink? Cause I like it)

MORE aqua!!

Seriously gorgeous. And let's talk about the quality of the bag, shall we? The sewing is impeccable. Truly, it's better than mass produced bags I have. While I've only used this bag a bit so far, I feel really confident in saying that these bags can take a beating, because I schlepped my first BVG around EVERYWHERE for over 2 years, and it's still in great shape, aside from some dirt. Diaper bags (or camera bags, or weekend bags, or whatever you choose to use them as) need to be sturdy. My diaper bag gets tossed in the car, stuffed in the basket under the stroller (then subsequently pulled out and stuffed back in about 12 times when I need things), jumped on, dragged around by a toddler, covered in sand at the park, assaulted by leaky sippy cups.... the list could go on and on. These bags are up for the challenge. The construction is great, and very heavy duty. I have NEVER had any concern about stuffing my bag full of stuff, or carrying too heavy of a load. 

And speaking of a heavy load... I am STILL amazed by how much these bags can hold. Check out the pics below. This is the list of things that fit in the bag, with room to spare, still! 

  • 4 cloth diapers (3 Dolce Baby, 1 Econobum)
  • 1 pair 3T jeans, and cloth trainer underwear
  • 1 small Planetwise wetbag
  • 1 bottle Thirsties bum cleaner
  • 1 small container Northern Essence rash cream
  • 1 bottle Scentsy fragrance foam
  • 1 full size package boogie wipes
  • 1 mini pack boogie wipes
  • Toddler aviator sunglasses
  • 1 bag Dole yogurt covered dried fruit
  • 1 fruit leather strip from Trader Joes
  • 2 lip glosses
  • 1 toddler toothpaste/brush
  • 1 groovy guitars trifold crayon wallet
  • 1 groovy guitars bib
  • 1 groovy guitars wipeable placemat
  • 1 small plastic Big Bird Toy
  • 1 large sippy/toddler water bottle
  • 1 S'well stainless waterbottle

Sorry for the multiple pics, but I was trying to capture just how much stuff was really in the bag! The crazy thing? The bag was not even close to over-stuffed. It could have held way more. And there wasn't ANYTHING in the outer pockets, aside from the water bottles. This bag holds approximately a metric shit-ton. Which is awesome, because when you leave the house with kids, you kind of need a suitcase. But nobody wants to carry around uggo bags with Winnie the Pooh or other ridiculousness on it. BVG allows you to tote around half your house, but in style! And Brooke can create something to match whatever YOUR style is!!!

The review doesn't stop here, though! We have LOTS of BVG products at our house, and I figured this would be a good time to share them with you! And to show that while I did receive an expedient bag for review, we love BVG so much, that we make lots of other purchases, too. BVG is a brand that I stand behind, 100%! So, what else do we have? A glamour case, a rockin' Spiderman tote, a brainiac library tote, and a reflective trick or treat tote. And the second that Brooke comes out with clutches, I'll have one of those, too! 

The trick or treat totes are one of my favorite products. Sure, I grew up lugging around one of those tacky orange plastic pumpkins, like most other people did. But those things are awkward. And the plastic handle? It just sucks. Brooke found a way to make a holiday based on scaring people to death and eating truck loads of candy EVEN BETTER. Her trick or treat totes are a great size, and hold a LOT of candy, but they are still easy for little hands to carry. It's really a great size for kids. Plus, Brooke's taste in Halloween fabrics is to die for. We had the hardest time trying to pick a fabric! We settled on skelanimals, which is animal skeletons. But, not in a creepy way. The fabric is really fun. The best part about these bags is that Brooke adds reflective fabric on BOTH sides of the bag, making your little goblin safer on Halloween. This is a really important feature to me, and we will never use another trick or treat bag!

Check out Carson's new Spiderman tote! This is something I love about Brooke. She truly cares about her customers. She knew from my Facebook posts that Carson is newly OBSESSED with Spiderman. I'm not kidding. See that costume down there? He lives in it. 24/7. All we watch is Spiderman. But I digress. She knew that, and she sent him his very own spidey tote! He was thrilled out of his mind. He immediately got his Spiderbear (Scentsy Buddy, Sasha the bear, with a spiderman costume from Build A Bear) and put him in the bag. And toted that bad boy around all day! He loves putting all his spidey treasures in there. And once again, just like all other products by Brooke, the quality and craftsmanship are both impeccable. Her sewing skills rival nobody else I've seen. Brooke really puts love into the products she makes, and it shows. Not all handmade items can stand up to a rough and tumble toddler. Brooke's can. 

This is my BVG glamour case. Can we all take a moment to admire how bad ass the fabric is? I have always LOVED mixed tape fabric. I was never quick enough to snag a cloth diaper in it, when we were in our diaper days, so I figured I'd never have the glory of mixed tapes in my possession. Once again, Brooke saved the day! I saw she had a glamour case in it, and snatched it up as quickly as I could!! I love BVG makeup bags. The inside is lined in PUL which is a waterproof material. Meaning the awesome fabric is safe from any spills or leaks from my makeup! The inside easily wipes out if something spills. But my favorite part is the size and shape of the bag. Most cosmetics bags are designed so your brushes and makeup lay down on the bottom of the bag inside. I kind of hate this. It takes forever to paw through everything to find what you need. Brooke's are designed so everything stands up on its end, making it much quicker to find what you are looking for. My bag goes everywhere with me! 

I know that I'm a wordy mofo. So, if you stuck around through all of these reviews, you are going to be aptly rewarded. Brooke has either completely lost her mind, or is just the most giving person I know, because we are going to have SEVEN WINNERS!!! Yeah, she definitely has lost her mind! Here is what is up for grabs. (Descriptions taken from actual product listings):

Every gal needs a little Brooke Van Gory in their life, even divas in the making. I have lots of customers that ask me for a little girl version of BVG, for the gals in their life that do not need a full sized BVG. Bitty BVG bags are the perfect gift. They are easy for little fingers to open with a magnetic snap closure. The strap is nice and short, so the bag will not hang to little lady's knees! Bitty BVG bags are perfect for toting barbies, little treasures, and essentials for the young gal on the go!

This bag is ready to ship, and features a rainbow bubble print cotton outer, and a yellow and rainbow alphabet print cotton lining. The strap is made of pink poly webbing.

I admit it. I am a makeup FIEND! I own a whole train case to house JUST my eyeshadows. It is a bit of an obsession. But when I am out and about, or going for a trip, I needed a pouch to carry the essentials, AND keep them dry. Admit it. How many times have you laid your makeup pouch on the sink, only to have it SOPPING wet when you go to pick it up, ruining half of your makeup that was inside?

This pouch is 6 X 7 and features a canvas print outer with a kawaii black and white hippo print. The inside is PUL, and it is water resistant (essentially waterproof, but if you decided to take it scuba diving, it may wick some water at the seams) This pouch closes with a black zipper!

I admit it. I am a makeup FIEND! I own a whole train case to house JUST my eyeshadows. It is a bit of an obsession. But when I am out and about, or going for a trip, I needed a pouch to carry the essentials, AND keep them dry. Admit it. How many times have you laid your makeup pouch on the sink, only to have it SOPPING wet when you go to pick it up, ruining half of your makeup that was inside?

This pouch is 6 X 7 and features a canvas print outer with a jardin floral print. The inside is PUL, and it is water resistant (essentially waterproof, but if you decided to take it scuba diving, it may wick some water at the seams) This pouch closes with a rose colored zipper!

Brown canvas Fundamental diaper tote comes with a matching Goofy Owls print diaper cover! The diaper cover is a one size snap closure cover, with a cotton outer, and PUL liner.

Introducing the Brooke² set! I have teamed up with the amazing Brooke Harlan from Brookiellen Designs to offer this custom option on all diaper bags! Brooke makes some of the most stylish durable waterproof diaper cover on the market. They are adorable on the bum, and their fit is amazing! When ordering, you may choose between a snap closure, or a aplix closure. All diaper covers in a BVG set will be one size, with a snap adjustable rise.

The Fundamental is a generously sized tote-style diaper bag. It is perfect for daily running around, for trips to the park, or to leave with a sitter. A bit smaller (not by much) then The Expedient this bag was built to allow for plenty of room inside to allow for diapers, blankies, toys, and bibs, and 2 outer pockets for mommy things.

This bag is also daddy friendly! How do I know? Because my diaper bag loathing husband carries one! And so does his brother, also a new daddy! I do find that with the male crowd, however, they tend to like solid colors of duck cloth for the whole bag.

Wanna know how MUCH stuff this bag will hold? See my blog post here with comparisons!

This bag has 2 large flap pockets on the inside, and 2 smaller pockets on the outside. It is fully lined for durability, and can stand on its own. Also on the inside, is a small zip pocket, to keep any items that you need to keep hidden. The bag closes with metal magnetic snaps.


Height: 13
Strap length: 23
Strap Drop: 13

Please take a second to visit Brookiellen  for other cute diaper covers, lunch sacks,reusable snack bags and cute patchwork bags!

This bag is made with a charcoal cotton with pink damask butterfly print cotton. Bag body is black canvas, and the straps are grey and black. Piping on this bag is pink, as well as the zipper. VERY modern, and sophisticated. This bag is ready to ship, and will be mailed within 24 hours of purchase.

This design is perfect as a weekend getaway bag, or as a diaper bag! It is roomy and full of pockets! The outer pockets are your choice of print on each side with piping lining the top. Each pocket is held firmly in place with twill straps that are top stitched in a contrast color. At the top of the strap, is a square metal ring that attaches to the straps. There is a recessed zipper in your choice of color, and another inner zipper pocket to hold your valuables, or tiny items you do not want getting lost in the bottom of the handbag! There are triangular A-line gussets on either side, and the bag is fully interfaced, with VERY thick fleece interfacing on the bottom so the bag has extra structure so it will not sag with weight.


Height: 13
Length: 16
Width: 6
Strap length: 31

The Roxie Bag is the newest bag in the Brooke Van Gory line. A hobo style slouch bag, this bag is roomy enough for an entire day of shopping, and chic enough for a night on the town! With accents of bright handmade flowers sewn on the outer, this bag is sure to turn heads wherever you go!

This listing is a ready to ship Roxie Bag in a colorful Masquerade Rhapsody print. The lining is purple and the strap is a turquoise. This bag closes with a magnetic snap closure, and has an inset zipper pocket in the lining for valuables.

These bags are 15x12x5. The height where the bottom of the dip is is 10". Strap length is 28".

Check it out! Do you have a Spidey enthusiast in your house? If so, they will flip for their very own spidey tote! Perfect for use as a library tote, hauling around toys to Grandma's house or just squirreling away their very own spidey treasure, this bag will be a hit!

So. There you have it. SEVEN winners! Seven lucky NWNB stalkers will walk away with their very own hand crafted BVG awesomeness. Insanely amazing!! We are going to run this a little differently than the usual giveaway, too! So pay attention, because here is how it goes:

For your MANDATORY entry (read: Not done, you don't win!) you will need to create a BVG board on Pinterest!! You can title it what you want, but it needs to have Brooke Van Gory Designs in the board title somewhere. On this board, you are going to pin some BVG items that you just LOVE, as well as some of the fabrics that Brooke has pinned that inspire you. Brooke's boards can be found HERE.  The goal here is to help spread the BVG love throughout the Pinterest community! By doing this you will receive TEN entries into this giveaway. Also mandatory: you must be a follower of my blog via GFC. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Rebecca said...
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Rebecca said...

What a great review and great giveaway!! I love my BVG bag and am always shocked how much I can get into it :D I ADORE THE HECK OUTTA YOUR BAG! The colors are AWESOME up there!! :D

Kelsey said...

Awesome bags. I might have to grab one just incase I don't win the giveaway. I always like supporting fellow MIdwest girls (which I learned form the q&a. Go Chicago!)

Amy K said...

I freakin' love the colors on your bag! Very cool! Oh and I also learned from the Artfire interview that she combined her sons names to create the company name. I went to a very Dutch college where half the people had "Van" in their last name. Much cooler that it's from her kiddos :)

~ April ~ EnchantedDandelions said...
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~ April ~ EnchantedDandelions said...

I've been a huge fan of BVG for a while now, and would LOVE to win any of these prizes. Brooke does amazing work and is a kick-ass mama! <3

ETA: I learned from the interview (congrats again for being featured seller!) that she used to make/sell hairbows and various other wares.

The Coats Family said...

So happy for Brooke! Love all of her products and it's so great to see her success. She definitely makes a point about zoning in on one product and doing it well!

Poppys Wicked Garden said...

I love Love love Brooke. I pretty much know everything there is to know about this hot mama,in fact I'm pretty sure I named her youngest child ;) ;) Her bags are absolutely wonderful(I own several) I'm so happy to have seen her and her business blossom!

Toni said...

Love both my BVG bag and the lady behind the bags is one talented mama! I found out her first sale was pirate bows and that she is totally in love what she wonder her products are AMAZING.

Jessica said...

Dudes, I'm crossing my fingers and my toes that I win one of these mo'fos.

Jessica said...

What I learned: Brooke rocked etsy but chose to go to artsfire b/c she felt etsy was too cluttered in the searching. I agree.

Mindy said...

I knew Brooke was self-taught, but I love the part about how she impressed her mom enough that she bought her a serger. Very cool!

Jessica said...

I did not know she started by selling hair accessories and then clothes!

Jen said...

Pirate bows, who would have ever known!! Fun fact!

A. Lanigan said...
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A. Lanigan said...

Thanks to Brooke for sponsoring the giveaway. I learned that she named her store after her family members.

Jennifer Phillips said...

Megan has been driving me nuts showing off these cute bags for a while now! I love that she started out selling bows on Etsy.. my how your business has bloomed. Love all the products especially that they cater to cloth diapering!! ♥

Rachael Heiner said...

Okay, her stuff is so cute, and I LOVE her eye for fabrics. My favorite thing from the artist spotlight is how she said that as an artist, you should find a need and fill it, but fill it YOUR way.

Unknown said...

I just love Brooke's choices of fabrics!! I've been wanting a new diaper bag, but have not been able to convince the hubby I need a new one. Let's just say, we have 5 kids and 3 of them are still in is only 2 1/2 weeks old. I think I deserve/need a new bag! I learned that Brooke started out with hair accessories. I had no idea. I've been eyeing the fundamental bag in the owl pattern on this giveaway. Keeping my fingers crossed!!!

Kayce and Brian said...

I want one of her diaper bags real bad!!!

turtlelady777 said...

I love brooke never knew she made and sold hair bows :)

LJD said...

I'm a tremendous fan of Brooke's, and think she's one of the most dynamic ladies out there. I think it's so impressive that she's self-taught. It's also awesome that her husband and mother are so involved (even if Gerg is sometimes drafted into duty) and appreciative of what she does. It's also amazing how much she accomplishes every day, especially given the presence of such an active preschooler!

rasmug98 said...

I learned that Brooke used cloth diapers on her second child, which is amazing.

Ehlara said...

I learned taht Brooke took a long time to settle into a creative niche that fulfilled her - good news for those of us looking for the type of success she's achieved!

JrdnLB said...

Love these bags!! The patterns are fabulous!! And they look like they would last so long! We need some well built bags!! Love, thank you!!

Becky McKeown said...

I love her bags! I learned that her wonderful bags are the #1 selling custom handmade diaper bag on the market! How cool!

Madison {Life Happens During Naptime} said...

Made a pinterest board devoted to BvG and I'm a GFC follower. Not sure if I need to comment here with that or not. Thnx for the great giveaway!

Madison {Life Happens During Naptime} said...

I learned that Brooke is a self-taught seamstress with eclectic style from the interview.

Nifty Nappy Cloth Diapers said...

Brooke is awesome and I think this is a brilliant idea!!

Rach said...

That she is self taught and learning it in her adult life.

Marcia Tauriella said...

I have never purchased anything from Brooke but her stuff looks amazing! I have a BVG board now and am following via GFC. However, I couldn't find where to enter! It very well could be user error Megan!

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

Aside from being dirty, it held up incredibly well to lots of use. Brooke kept telling me how awesome her new bags were, and I just thought she was crazy, because I couldn't figure out how they could get better. drawstring carrier bags

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

Aside from being dirty, it held up incredibly well to lots of use. Brooke kept telling me how awesome her new bags were, and I just thought she was crazy, because I couldn't figure out how they could get better. drawstring carrier bags

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