The Legend of Zella and the Quest for the Gathered Tote

Published in: Fashion, Product Reviews

The Zella Gathered Tote

Gather ’round the campfire, girls, and lend me your ears. The tale you’re about to hear is no meager yarn or fable, no children’s fairytale. No, it’s one of the greatest adventure stories of the modern era and antiquity. Why? Because it’s true! — as true as the North Star!


Sit close, steel your nerves, and open your mind. Behold! Now begins the Legend of Zella and the Quest for the Gathered Tote…


Once upon a time (around 2007), in a place far, far away, there lived a pint-sized beauty lover named Karen.

Despite her best intentions, every time Karen left the house, she brought along everything but the kitchen sink.

Along with her regular cat lady accoutrements — her wallet, phone, keys, snacks, cat treats, 12 tubes of gloss, a pair of backup shoes, a spare bra (because you never know…) and extra socks — she also brought her cameras, lenses and laptop with her a lot of the time.

The villagers in her small town didn’t understand. “Dude,” they’d whisper to one another and point as she passed, “what’s that chick’s deal? Why does she need three bags? Who carries that much stuff?”

“I don’t know,” another would say. “I heard that she keeps a cat in one of them and a fully cooked turkey in the other!”

Then, one day, everything changed. Karen discovered the $68 Zella Gathered Tote at a local merchant’s shoppe, also known as Nordstrom (it’s also online at

Right away, Karen saw its potential. “Hmm…” she wondered. “Although technically a gym bag, this thing will serve me well. It’s slim-fitting and deep, yet still lightweight. It’s also big enough for a laptop, two cameras, a medium-sized travel makeup bag and my gym clothes. Or, I could just use it as a casual tote, or maybe even a diaper bag someday.

“I don’t think El Hub would mind carrying it, either, because it’s black and not too girly at all.”

Karen slung the main strap across her body and happily skipped all the way home; she also delighted in the knowledge that she could have carried it by the padded, comfy double handles as well.

zella gathered tote review

The two double handles feel comfortable on my shoulder and sit at just the right spot (not too high, not too low)

zella gathered tote side pocket with phone

Two deep zippered side pockets keep my phone and keys readily available

zella gathered tote review

The logo and the top of the outside pocket, which is where I usually keep my water bottle/Nutella/spoon for emergencies

zella gathered tote

The main compartment is roomy and deep with handy inner pockets on both sides

zella gathered tote zipped up

I LOVE how the top zips closed, so I don’t have to worry about my stuff falling out

Later that night, a revelation! Karen confirmed that the bag fit her laptop, DSLR, point-and-shoot camera and two lenses, with room to spare!

She filled the numerous roomy pockets inside the bag with her wallet, power adapters and extra batteries Then, she tucked her cellphone and keys into the separate zippered pockets on the outside of the bag, where she could easily access them without having to dig.

Just then, Karen’s cat twitched his tail! The rascal realized that there was even enough room left in the bag for a package of Pounce and two cans of Gravy Lover’s Fancy Feast.

“OHMIGAWD!” Karen exclaimed. “This bag is incredible! Think of how many women out there could use a comfortable, lightweight bag able to carry this much stuff. I must tell my friends about its awesomeness, and spread the message about this bag…”

The rest, as they say, is history. πŸ™‚

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



P.S. So long, Monday. Until we meet again.

How’d things go for you today? I can’t deny, it was a little rough for me coming off that long holiday weekend…

I’ve been kind of taking it easy tonight. I had a salad for dinner, and now I’m just gonna watch an episode of Battlestar Galactica before bed…and maybe order a Crazy Cat Lady Starter Kit.

LOL! One of these days… Oh, but Tabs would kill me if I showed up one day with a gang of new kitties.


Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 24 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Windie says:

    I may look into this bag. I thought that Longchamp’s Le Pliage would work for me but, no. My belongings disappeared into the abyss and couldn’t get a grip on endless pouches. Sigh.

  2. Hafsa says:

    I’m always on the lookout for a great camera bag, or even a new gym bag to give my Lululemon a rest sometimes πŸ™‚ looks great Karen!

  3. Marla says:

    I like the looks of that bag. My only concern is the black lining inside. I’ll never be able to see anything.

  4. Sarah says:

    Karen’s tale seems “a lot” like mine. I’m always in need of bigger bags since I like to carry alot of stuff with me where ever I go.

    Most of the times I over stuff my regular bag & its so inconvenient when I need to find something quick – if you know what I mean. Apparently I take half of the stuff out to find out that one thing I need urgently.

    I will definitely check this out. Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚


    Sarah recently posted … The Power of Naturals

  5. Kim says:

    This bag seems perfect for you (and it’s cute, too). I used to be the queen of my ID/credit card in my back pocket but I can’t get away with that very often now. Thank goodness for the Hubs; he carries a wallet and the car keys (and keeps asking if I purposely buy clothes “without pockets”). HAHA!

    PS Yesterday wasn’t too bad, considering I had been on vacation for 9 days. I’m a bit worried about today, though. πŸ™‚

  6. I NEED this bag! I just added it to my Christmas list πŸ™‚ Thanks, Karen!

  7. indoorkitty says:

    OMG Karen, you are a lifesaver. I have to somehow carry a wii, some video games, my laptop and a ginormous camera on an airplane. I think you mighta solved my puzzle on how to do this AND carry a ziploc baggie full of potions too. THANK YOU for SHARING!!!

    I love your clothing/accessories posts btw! You’ve got a good eye and good style quotient for petites.

  8. NeenaJ says:

    Hi Karen,

    Just for funsies, would you weigh that bag with all your stuff in it and report back?

    I really like that bag but I’m a bit of a goldfish. Give me more room and I will take it all up.

  9. Stef Smith says:

    I swear I stopped reading after you said “diaper bag.” LOL! My BFF is expecting, and this would be a great diaper bag, functional and stylish.

    You don’t really carry all that stuff around with you where ever you go do you? Doesn’t it get quite heavy? This would be a travel bag right? You keep saying that you’re “pint-sized” and I keep picturing all that stuff in a bag and you walking sideways! πŸ™‚

  10. Nina says:

    The bag is awesome! It might be a tad too long for me, but I am checking this out!

    I am currently using a Le Pliage and its like a bottomless pit – I am forever scrounging around for keys/wallet/etc!

  11. Kathleen says:

    Ohhh my goodness. This is the bag for me!! I have a brown and black tote style bag from H&M that I adore, but it doesn’t work when I’m wearing some outfits. I have a diaper bag that I keep in the car because I don’t really want to walk around with Winnie the pooh ya know?? This will do perfectly for my makeup and random kitchen sink items. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Fieran says:

    This is really cool. I love tote bags but can never find ones that sit properly on my shoulder, for some reason, so I always end up with messenger bags. That said, I can’t seem to like any camera bag other than the ones made by Crumpler. They are perfect for toting lenses, etc.

    But it *is* hard to find a bag that can fit a camera plus other stuff.

  13. S says:

    Omg I love this!

  14. I absolutely adore the top you’re wearing here Karen! It looks really comfortable without really compromising on style!
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … Revlon Colorburst lip butter Candy Apple : Review, Swatch, FOTD

  15. Jennifer says:

    Very cute! I love Nordstrom.
    Jennifer recently posted … CND Shellac: The 14 Day Manicure

  16. Vanessa says:

    I’m with you on the extra bra — I bring extra undergarments around. Because if you have to run (in my case bike) and get sweaty… it’s just better to have extras than to spend all day in the originals… πŸ™‚

    I carry a backpack. I have a pencil case of make-up, but when I’m feeling blue, I tend the pack it filled with extra make-up that I don’t need “just so I can look at them and smile.”

    It’s nice to know I’m not too alone in the universe!!! hahaha

  17. Kalli says:

    That’s a darling bag! I’m always looking for a good laptop bag, which is hard because I have a gigundo 17-incher (I like big screens and I cannot lie!) Anyway, I’ll have to look into this one!

  18. Solangel says:

    This looks like it would be fantastic for law school. I keep most of my huge books in the car, but I still need to tote around some things. I want it!

  19. Gen says:

    Did you say diaper bag? Are there babies in your future? PLEASE SAY YES

  20. Ana says:

    Wow, thanks Karen, this might be the bag I’ve been looking for! I live in the East Bay and work in the city and everyone makes fun of me for having two bags (one for my laptop/work stuff and a smaller purse for makeup & taking out with me to lunch). Sometimes I need to pack extra stuff if I’m going out with friends after work and these two bags are such hassle, I’ve been looking to consolidate into one. Love how stylish this is and that it comes in different colors πŸ™‚

  21. Kalli says:

    Just wanted to say that I bought this bag today at Nordstrom! They were out of black, but they did have a gorgeous bright turquoise shade that I LOVED and its going to be the perfect travel bag for my trip to Greece in June! I was impressed as how durable and well-made it is, even my mom is jealous haha. Thanks for the recommendation!
    Kalli recently posted … Highlighter Pink

  22. sky says:

    Does anyone know where I can possibly get this tote bag. My old one finally gave out, and Nordstrom’s no longer has it in stock!

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