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Because Handbags and Babies and Panties, Oh My!

By Amalah

Dear Almighty Amalah,

I love your blog and I share your love for Coach handbags. Luckily I have received two over the years as gifts. However, that was several years ago and they are showing signs of wear, particularly in the bindings. A friend told me that Coach will recondition and rebind its bags, but I can’t find such information anywhere on the website. In fact, they seem to specifically deny such a possibility. Is this true? And what do I do about worn bindings?  (Seriously, the leather is wearing away on the corners.) I treat the leather semi-regularly with a conditioning leather cleaner, but that only goes so far.

Thank you!

You know what I am thinking? I am thinking two things:

1) I never told the Internet about the gorgeous black leather tote/diaper/laptop bag that I recently purchased for an insanely fantastic price at a Coach Factory Store, thus ending a NINE-MONTH DROUGHT in new handbag purchases. I bought it to take to BlogHer next week and in fact I have not even removed the price tag yet, possibly because admiring the low low price on the tag makes me even happier.

Ahhhhh, so pretty! So happy!
Hello cat! And hello wild, free-roaming piles of laundry!

2) I am also thinking that I should get paid to be a professional website searcher, because I found the following info buried on the Coach website in under three minutes:

Does Coach offer a repair service?
Coach products are made to ensure satisfaction and service for the natural life of the product. If, during its lifetime, your item should require repair, we offer a repair service for many of our products. There is a $20 shipping & handling charge for each item submitted for repair. Please be sure to ship your item by insured, traceable means, such as UPS insured or insured mail. Please send to:

Attn: Repairs
One Coach Way
Jacksonville, Florida 32218

Be sure to include a note with your address, daytime phone number and instructions, or use our Repair Service Request form which you may print and send in to Coach along with your repair.
(Scroll down, click on “Customer Service,” then on “product quality, care and guarantee,” and then on “Repairs,” or just click on this link I have thoughtfully provided for full details on Coach’s repair service, including time estimates, replacement straps and hardware, etc.)

One last thought (I am SO THINKY today): I’ve been fortunate enough to not yet require Coach’s repair services, so I’d be curious to hear from anyone who has used them. $20 for repairs (presumably done by Coach bag experts) seems insanely awesome, so if you can attest to either the awesomeness or lack of awesomeness, that would be?

Well. It would be awesome. Thanks.

(Perhaps I need a thesaurus instead of more handbags.)

Dear Amalah,

I am trying to register for my baby shower but I have NO IDEA what one needs to deal with a newborn baby. I understand there’s a crib, and that probably needs sheets (But how many sets?). And there’s the carseat (Which brand? Convertible? Infant?). What did you find particularly useful to have around during Noah’s first months? What couldn’t you live without? What did you get that you still haven’t used? And how many danged onesies are enough?

Many thanks,

I’m of two minds regarding baby gear. The first mind says to wait until YOUR particular species of newborn is here to buy stuff, because they’re all so different and most of the most useless purchases we made were the ones that other people said they couldn’t live without.

The second mind says that it doesn’t matter if the first mind tells you that, because all expectant parents are biologically incapable of NOT frantically buying loads of crap during those final weeks.

I can tell you not to worry about a crib at first (get a little cradle or cosleeper or bassinet-style Pack N’ Play or even none of the above, the baby will probably sleep with you for the first few weeks no matter what your current opinion on co-sleeping), but I know that the nesting instinct will hit you hard and you will sob at the sight of your cribless nursery and have a recurring nightmare about not being allowed to take the baby home without a crib.

So buy a crib, a mattress, two waterproof mattress pads and three crib sheets, and I’ll be jealous of your extra mattress pad because we only have one and I wish we had two, but nobody’s buying us gifts anymore and I’m too cheap to buy another one.

I can tell you not to buy one of those big humungous strollers or travel systems because almost everybody who buys one ends up hating it and buying a damn umbrella stroller instead and then we all sit around and say things like, “Why didn’t anybody TELL me to just buy a damn umbrella stroller in the first place?” But I know you’ll go to the baby store and get tempted by the glory of the promise of the all-in-one travel system or the glorious yuppierifficness of the Bugaboo and register for that instead, with the idea that if someone ELSE buys it for you, what’s the harm?

And then you’ll realize that even though it’s not your money, it’s your ass that has to haul it around places and attempt to navigate around narrow teetering displays of tomato sauce at the grocery store. We started out with a Peg Perego Aria, which we hated with the heat of 1,000 white-hot suns. Then we went and bought a Hauck iCoo Infinity, which resembles the Poor Man’s Bugaboo. It’s a great stroller for the city, but it is heavy and big and wide and awkward. Now we’re on stroller NUMBER THREE, and finally, FINALLY, we are happy.
If we had it all to do over again, we’d buy a carseat frame, and that’s it. Noah LIVED in his infant car seat (Graco) for about six months, and while snapping the car seat into a regular stroller sounds like a great idea while you’re puttering around Babies ‘R Us, something like a Snap-N-Go or the Snugrider is really the most streamlined way to go.

By the time Noah outgrew his infant seat, he was sitting up on his own and ready for the Maclaren Volo or Triumph. (We opted for the Triumph since it reclines and Noah always falls asleep in the stroller, but it does add three pounds to the weight of the stroller.) Both models are sturdier than they look, ultra-maneuverable and fold up so small you can put them in your pocket. (Okay, you carry them with a shoulder strap, but still.)

Other assorted things I learned from my baby registry:

You do need swaddling blankets, but you do not need 37 of them.
About five packs of onesies should do it.
Buy more diapers than you ever think you can possibly use, and then go buy five more packages.
They wear the newborn sizes for about 10 minutes.
Have bottles handy, even if you plan to breastfeed. (Dr. Brown’s just may save your gas-and-spit-up worn sanity, buy a couple wide-necked and standard in case your baby rejects the first style.) (We bought about a million Avent wide-necks, only to have Noah prefer the standard size, and then needed the Dr. Brown’s anyway. Bah.)

A pacifier is not of the devil.

Don’t register for a breast pump. Rent one from the hospital or a lactation practice.
Soothies, however, are a gift from God himself. Make other people buy them for you too.
Get three or four or seven packages of those cheap cloth diapers for spit-up rags. You will use A LOT of spit-up rags.

Itty bitty babies don’t play with toys. I know! And they SUCK at Playstation.

The Pee-Pee TeePees are a great invention if you’ve ever secretly wondered just how far an infant’s urine stream can propel a useless cone-shaped piece of fabric across the room. (I’ll just tell you: four feet. Now you don’t have to buy them.)

If you think you want a swing or a bouncy seat or an exersaucer and aren’t sure which one to get, the Fisher Price Ocean Wonders one is probably a good call. (We used all three, but mostly just the swing at first. You can wait to buy the other crap.)

And remember: they will let you back in the store after the baby is born. They will even let you buy things after the baby is born. And no matter how many times you have that dream about not being allowed to take the baby home because you don’t have a crib/stroller/wipe warmer/whatever, they WILL let you take the baby home (provided you have a carseat, of course), and you will go home and look at each other and say, “I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY LET US TAKE A BABY HOME. OH MY GOD.”

I need your help in a big way Amy. It’s a crisis, a panty predicament if you will. A little background – I never owned a pair of low rise pants until recently. I lost 60 lbs over the past year and I got to buy all new clothes (Um, YEAH! If only I knew how fun that would be, I would have tried harder to lose it before!) Anyway, in purchasing my new clothes, I found that I love the low rise pants/jeans (not ‘below the pubic bone low’ but a respectable 36 year old below or low waist…) Anyway, this has resulted in a new problem – finding panties that show no panty line (blech) AND are low rise (because OMG panties that sit above the waist of your pants is a HORRENDOUS sight..not that I would know that of course….)

I can’t do thongs. I just can’t – butt floss just does not work for me. I’ve had two kids and there are still things this body can’t do even after the weight loss, and thongs is one of them. I love Victoria’s Secret low rise bikinis – I have like 10-15 pairs (I had to buy all new undies too!) However, they do tend to show lines. Any ideas? Help!

Thank you,
Your not so secret admirer,

And here is where I choose to overshare with the Internet once again: I wear thongs. I always wear thongs. I even wore thongs while I was pregnant. I am THAT MUCH of a freak about visible panty lines. In fact, I check the mirror every morning just to make sure you can’t see the waistband part of my thong. See?


So I am probably not the best person to ask about regular panties that don’t show lines. Because to me, they ALL show lines. Sure, maybe only in certain light and when you’re bending over and possibly only through white pants. But that one instance of visible panty line is enough.

(This is the sort of column that makes my mother call me afterwards and say things like, “What did we DO to you growing up? What went WRONG in your life to make you think like this?”)

Anyway, for the non-freaks among us, Jockey offers a line of underwear called the “No Panty Line Promise” collection, and it includes several low-rise options in bikinis and hipster shorts and (heh) thongs. Which to most people would seem redundant, but to the thong waistband freak like me? I love it. Victoria’s Secret also offers some no-shows as well, but in fewer styles.

You know, I recently attended my 10-year high school reunion. And I attended it while not wearing any underwear at all. Because I’d caved to the whole “comfort” thing for the three-hour car ride and wore boyshorts under my jeans and then arrived at my parents’ house to change for the reunion, only to find that I’d left all my underwear back in DC. Including my precious thongs.

So what was there to do? I attended the reunion commando and then stopped at Victoria’s Secret the next day to buy some emergency underwear for the rest of my trip. And wouldn’t you know it, those panties that I hastily grabbed at some random mall in New Jersey turned out to be the best damn panties I’ve ever owned.

And also the most comfortable, which brings me to the POINT of this whole tangent.

If you’ve tried thongs in the past and found them to be unbearable, I encourage you to give Vicky’s Sexy Little Things thongs a try anyway. They’re super-stretchy and soft and I honestly don’t even feel like I’m wearing them. They are also delightfully trashy and even if you end up hating them for all-day wear, I’m SURE you could put up with them long enough to have someone else take them off in a hurry, if you know what I mean, and I think you do, and I think you are all getting kind of grossed out.

Oh, and while I can attest to the comfort and quality of the Sexy Little Things thongs and the maybe the Brazilians, I make no claim to have any personal knowledge regarding the heart-shaped Diamant pasties.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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