Blog Archives

Genius App: Upinion

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upinion

With so many apps out there – it is hard to decipher what is useful and/or beneficial. My new favorite is Upinion. A free market research App that asks you simple questions throughout your day and in return THEY PAY YOU! Thats right…

Everytime you answer a question you bank 10 cents. When your “Wallet” gets to $10.00 – Upinion will transfer to the account of your choice and you can start all over again!

Upinion is reinventing market research by using mobile technology to deliver answers in real time.

For companies, information needs to be instant and practical enabling businesses to make quick and accurate decisions. Traditional market research is time consuming, expensive and complicated.

Upinion makes the entire process incredibly easy and efficient.   Download the app free HERE.

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Fall Favorite: Chelsea Boot

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chelseafinal

A favorite for Fall is the Chelsea Boot. Also known as the “Beatle Boot” as the original was adapted for The Beatles in the early 1960’s. The style was inspired by the Cuban’s Flamanco Boot – only the Chelsea had a higher heel.  This ankle boot has been redesigned and modernized over the years into a comfortable and  very versatile/practical shoe. Here are a few of my favorites:

Opening Ceremony: Coachella Flat Suede Chelsea Boots: $402.00

Topshop: August Classic Chelsea Boots: $120.00

J.Crew: Chelsea Boots: $268.00

Saint Laurant: Suede Rock Chelsea Boot: $995.00

Frye: Pippa Short Chelsea Boots: $278.00

Rag and Bone: Bannon Closed Toe Booties: $550.00

 

Currently Coveting: Rag & Bone Small Pilot Bag

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rags

Currently Coveting: Rag & Bone Small Pilot Bag.

Appropriately dubbed the “Pilot,” this is Rag & Bone’s inaugurate bag. First seen in the pages of Vogue last June and available for purchase in September, Marcus Wainwright, designer and managing partner, says this of the process:

It took like a year and a half. It was very difficult. Unless you launch a huge range of bags, which we didn’t think was the right thing to do, the other option is just to focus on one specific bag, which puts pressure on that bag to be absolutely right. So we spent a long time doing the wrong thing when we started a year and a half ago. About six months after we started that process, we took a step back and just started again by focusing on what we thought the Rag & Bone girl was and what her bag would look like, and I think that’s what we got in the end.

It’s taken from an old army helmet bag—that sort of influences where the shape came from, with those two front pockets. We felt a good place to start was the helmet bag just because it’s very practical, it’s a great shape and it has this sense of history that people are somewhat familiar with and that you can reinterpret and twist into something that is very Rag & Bone and very modern and it looks really cool. So the military influence that we reference in our collection again and again and again is there in the bag. The hooks that connect that strap are actually military hardware.

The Pilot is available in two sizes – small and large – and feature a crossbody strap for hands-free moments as well as top handles. Exclusive to Barneys and Rag & Bone online, one can purchase this bag in the following colors Black, Walnut, Navy, Mocha, Yellow and new for Spring Navy Floral.

The Classics: Chanel 2.55

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The Chanel brand has always been associated with classic, timeless elegance. To this day, a Chanel handbag remains one of the most recognized and respected accessories in the world.

Mademoiselle Chanel designed her accessories to be both practical and sensible, and to her accessories signified the true emblem of luxury and elegance. In the 1920’s, Coco Chanel became tired of having to carry her handbags in her arms and decided to update her handbag, for the modern woman. The resulting design was called 2.55 after the date of creation, February 1955.

From the very beginning, Coco Chanel strove for functionality. For this reason, the bag features a double flap with a zip-fastened pocket intended as a secret place for storing a love letter. On the inside of the bag there are three bellow pockets, meant to store a lady’s necessities like lipstick and perfume.

The bag has a quilted diamond or herringbone pattern on the exterior. Using a running stitch, this gives the bag shape and volume. The pattern is believed to have been inspired by several sources: by jockeys’ riding coats, the stained-glass windows of the abbey at Aubazine, as well as by the cushions in Chanel’s Paris apartment. The original 2.55 is lined in a burgundy color which represents the color of the uniform she wore growing up in an orphanage. The famous double C emblem, (“Coco Chanel”) is stitched on the inside flap like a coat of arms. The bag originally came with a front lock called “the Mademoiselle Lock” (in reference to Coco Chanel never marrying). Since the 1980s, versions can also be supplied with a lock in the shape of the double C logo. Both the iconic rectangular clasp that is gilted with gold and the famous leather and chain shoulder strap had never been seen on a handbag before Coco Chanel added them.

Since it’s introduction, there have been several variations of the original design including different colors, leather/fabric combinations, metal and interwoven leather straps and the lock, mademoiselle vs. interlocking CC. Chanel released an exact copy of the original 2.55 in February 2005 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the original. Though the name “Reissue 2.55” should apply only to those commemorative handbags it is now commonly used now as a name for all the handbags resembling the original 2.55.


 

Get To Know: Angela O’Brien of Cleobella

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Cleobella is a line of eclectic bags, clutches, and jewelry that reflect the gypsy lifestyle. Bringing modern luxury to bohemian style, Cleobella uses washed leathers, vintage ikat fabrics and recycled antique hardwares, to make these hand-made/hand-crafted styles, works of art. Esteemed retailers worldwide have embraced Cleobella, as they continue to uphold a reputation of being impeccable in quality and unique in design.

Angela O’Brien, alongside her husband Jim, officially launched Cleobella in 2008 after traveling the world for a solid year. The name Cleobella comes from Angela’s Northern Ireland-born mother, Cleobelle. While in Bali, O’Brien was inspired by the unique fabrics and beads at local markets and designed the line’s first piece, the Mexicana clutch. A large wallet with several pockets and zippers, the Mexicana was perfect for day and night. It is now Cleobella’s signature piece.

Angela has since added hundreds of bags and clutches to the line, and has evolved into home decor and jewelry. Cleobella’s first retail boutique is located in Sunset Beach, California. The exotic 1,200 square-foot space is steps from the beach and bursting with beautiful bags, jewelry and clothing.

I had the privilege of interviewing local free spirit, Angela O’Brien at her Sunset Beach boutique.

MeThe first boutique/show room you decided to open locally in Sunset Beach, any plans on opening more?

Angela: We live in Seal Beach, so it just made sense.  I thought – why not just do it here and maybe branch-out later. I can see us opening a boutique in Bali. We spend so much time there and have all the resources. That would be a dream. I have also thought about opening another location in the LA area – I love the Abbot Kinny/Venice area. Also in New York – we have a show room in NYC and are there 3-4 times a year and it would be so cool to have a boutique in Soho. Someday…

Me: Tell me about CARE?

Angela: In my travels, I see so many women working incredibly hard all-day-long. For instance, in India, women pack the dung patties (manure) all day in their beautiful saris – and in Bali women haul huge, heavy water jugs on their heads. I wanted to be affiliated with a cause that would help these women. After all they are the ones who help make my dreams come true –  building and detailing my hand-beaded bags that take weeks to make. So we wanted to give back and specifically donate to Southeast Asia. It just made sense. We also donate to local charities as well because I think that is so important.

MeWhere does your design inspiration come from?

Angela: My grandmother is an incredible artist so I have grown up around art all my life. I have been painting since I was little – I paint with oils. Whenever I am designing a collection, I start with a theme or story. It helps me wrap my mind around a concept. Often times that can be a travel destination we have been to. For example we are heading to India in late October, so Fall 2013 will be inspired by India.

MeWhat was the inspiration behind Fall 2012?

Angela: It was Cleopatra goes to Bali. I was envisioning – if Cleopatra was alive – what would her experience be in Bali. The collection is very rich in metallics and suedes, but still has that bohemian, rustic chic feel to it. We just finishing Spring 2013, which was inspired by the South Pacific/Australia and consists of a lot of pastels and neons.

MeDo you try to keep up with the trends or create your own?

Angela: I don’t have access to the trend reports like bigger businesses do. I tend to sometimes fall into the right trends. For instance, if it is a certain color that I am feeling and it just happens to be the color for the season. I try not to be too influenced because then everything becomes generic and I would rather be inspired by something that is more original.

MeWho is the Cleobella girl?

Angela: I think she is playful, worldly,whimsical – inspired by life. Our bags are such statement pieces so she has a relaxed, casual style but always adds a “conversation piece”.

MeWho are some of your favorite designers?

Angela: A lot of my girlfriends are my favorite designers. Right now I am wearing my girlfriends line, Summer of 78. She is a dear friend of mine. I have a lot of girlfriends in the business and love wearing and trading product.

MeWhat is your favorite piece you have designed?

Angela: It is still my Mexicana clutch. It is still such a great seller and has become such a signature of our brand. It is very practical and I can recreate it over and over again. The price point is really good for the time and detail that goes into it and I love that no two are the same.

MeFavorite beauty tip or trick?

Angela: I am a big believer of Organic Coconut Oil. I put it on my hair, my skin – I used it while pregnant to avoid stretch marks, I put it on my baby and even cook with it. I get it from Whole Foods. I have one in my shower, by my sink and in my kitchen.

MeWhere do you see Cleobella in 10 years?

Angela: Well, I would love to expand in other categories. Home decor is my passion. Two seasons ago, we did a collection of pillows for Barneys. We took the inspiration from our bags and made them into pillows, a Mexicana, a studded Nevaeh, fringe, and a chevron design from the Hudson Envelope. Right now we are gearing up for a sale with One Kings Lane. We are doing a collection of Ecote pillows, hand-selected by me. In the future, clothing would be a dream.

NY Fashion Week Favorites: Fall 2012

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New York Fashion Week packed-up Thursday to continue on the runways in Europe. Over the past eight days, the runways were enveloped with menswear-inspired tailoring, leather, military looks, fur, winter white, metallics and colorblocking. From beautiful gowns to leather and knits here are a few looks and shows that I favored: Theyskens Theory, Derek Lam, Oscar de la Renta, Badgley Mischka, Diane von Furstenberg.

Spring Forecast: Fashion Trends

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From electric neons to practical pastels, Spring 2012 Fashion Week hosted colorful and wearable fashion trends. From New York to Milan, there were many noticeable patterns and trends from the designers collections.

Shocking Neons and Electric Brights were glowing at Nanette Lepore. Though we have seen this trend before, Spring 2012 viewed a more feminine nature rather than an 80’s interpretation.

Animal Prints and Tribal Patterns were let loose at Michael Kors. A trend that re-invents itself every spring, this season it looks like a lot more texture has been added. A wealth of beading, metal and wood embellish the prints.

Bold Floral Prints sprouted up at J.Crew. Floral prints in Spring…Shocking! However, this season the prints are stronger/bolder and less “pretty.” Bright colors and loud patterns engulf entire outfits, i.e pant suits and jumpers.

Pretty Pastels speckled the runway at 3.1 Phillip Lim. This was the most obvious trend for the season. Washes of lavender, spearmint and blush flooded the runways. A pastel palette in Spring is a charming bouquet of chic and feminine style.

Stylish Snood: AllSaints Yossi Snood Hood

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AllSaints Yossi Snood Hood

A Snood (also known as infinity scarf) is a tubular neck scarf that resembles a close-fitting hood worn over head. Popular in the 1940s, women used them to keep their long hair out of the way.

This versatile scarf-hood hybrid is both stylish and practical. It can be worn around shoulders or propped-up over head and will not only keep you warm but protect hair and face from weather conditions.

The Yossi Snood Hood by AllSaints is simple and chic. It is soft and comfy with cable knit detailing. Also available in black and cream, the Yossi Snood Hood is a must-have accessory for Fall.

Classic Cap: Madewell Panama Hat

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Madewell Panama Hat

Worn for centuries, the Panama hat has survived the test of time. These hats are in fact made and originated in Equador, but then exported to Panama where it assumed the name.

These hats are essential not to mention convenient for travel. The lightweight straw can be packed-away in a suitcase readily and it’s design allows it to return to it’s original shape. 

The Madewell Panama hat is a great option. It’s light, breathable material and wide-brimmed frame will be required and appreciated in the hot sun. I love the masculine, classic style of the Panama and that it can be paired perfectly with any kind of suit – business or bathing. 

 


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