Blog Archives

Current Obsession: Blank Denim White Vegan Leather Skinny Pants

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Current Obsession: White Leather.

I am drawn to the crisp texture and clean lines.

First Purchase: Blank Denim’s White Vegan Leather Skinny Pants.

The quality is amazing and unexpected – “pleather” sure has come a long way. The fit is tight, comfortable and surprisingly flattering.

Big chunky sweaters in the Fall/Winter and simple cotton tanks and tees in the Spring/Summer.

If they survive? (white drinks only)

The Classics: Black Pump

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The classic black pump. Perfect for day or night, work or play. A shoe that will never, ever go out-of-style and with the right cobbler, will last forever. They might all look very similar, but not all pumps are created equal.

The iconic black pump is truly an “investment piece”. When considering the purchase of the perfect pump, there are several points (pun intended) to consider, including craftsmanship, quality of leather, toe shape, heel height and arch support. This is not an item that can be purchased online, one must kiss many frogs before finding a prince.

From a power suit or LBD, to a favorite pair of designer jeans, the classic black pump instantly creates a chic, put-together look. The reliable shoe is a vital component in every women’s closet. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Jimmy Choo ~ Anouk Patent Leather Point Toe Pumps: $575.00

2. Christian Louboutin ~ Decollete Calfskin Pointed-Toe Pump: $625.00

3. Manolo Blahnik ~ Manolo Blahnik BB: $595.00

4. Prada ~ Leather Point-Toe Pump: $620.00

5. Zara ~ Leather High Heeled Court Shoe: $89.90

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.

Gym Gear: Lululemon Wunder Under Crop

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Bikini season is right around the corner. Getting fit for summer starts by feeling good about yourself. The best motivation technique I know of is purchasing gym clothes that make you look good.

This can be done simply by purchasing a pair of Lululemon workout pants. Yes, the cost is ridiculous but the quality is incomparable. The Wunder Under Crop is my current favorite. From the outside, they look like your run-of-the-mill workout wear. But when pulled on, they instantly hug the body and flatter the figure with ‘superhero-like’ strength.

The capri-cut and gusset-style design allows for maximum range of motion when working out. Lululemon’s custom Luon® fabric resists moisture and will keep the shape of the pants after washing (cold delicate cycle/no fabric softener/ hang to dry).

The Wunder Under Crop run a little bit small. If you live near a Lululemon store, it is worth going in and working with a sales associate. They will find the perfect pieces for your body type and lifestyle.

 

Drugstore Find: Spoiled Nail Color

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While picking up a few necessities at CVS, I stumbled upon a promotional stand for Spoiled Nail Color. Manufactured by Wet-n-Wild Cosmetics, these polishes are exclusive to CVS and retail for $1.99…

I was immediately attracted to a color called Flamingo Pink. The formula is opaque and very true to color. One coat was all that was needed, but due to the price point I thought two coats might have more staying-power. Applied on toes and fingers, one week later, my toes are unblemished and my fingers are just now beginning to chip.

The only setback is the brush. A thick brush, (similar to Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure) but with a weird tapered end. The edge of the brush can be a little awkward, but ignored, due to the $1.99 price tag.

Available in 72 colors, Spoiled Nail Color is truly a great buy. From trendy neon shades to glittery sparkles, one is bound to find a shade worthy of the $1.99 investment.

Back to Basics: Layering Favorites

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Layering articles of clothing is not only practical but stylish. The art of layering will create insulation to keep you warm but will also lay the foundation for a very versatile wardrobe.

Start with your favorite basics. When shopping for basics, buy for comfort and quality. This will ensure getting the most wear out of the article of clothing. Then… buy in quantity. If you love a particular piece – purchase in different colors, patterns or styles.

For instance,  H&M tanks and camis are great – they are cheap, come in an array of colors/patterns and are made long in length. It is quite difficult to find a good tank, long enough to cover the bum when wearing leggings or tights. These tanks will also layer beautifully under just about anything, without any added bulk.

Old Navy is another great place to find layering basics. I love the light-weight v-necks and crew-necks. They are soft, comfortable, inexpensive and come in great basic colors. I wear them everywhere from the gym to work. On their own, accessorized with a great scarf or layered under a sequin/leather/boyfriend blazer to create a textured-casual look.

When it comes to quality, Splendid and KAIN Label, are unbeatable. They both provide silk blend basics that are extraordinarily comfortable and styles that are continuously on trend each season. These are the best basic pieces to collect each season, that will last a lifetime.

What are your favorite basics?

5 under $50: Earrings by ASOS

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This season, swap out the statement necklace for a pair of elaborate earrings. A great way to finish a look, earrings draw attention to the face as well as inhance the shape. For example:

Round Face: Long dangly earrings will elongate and slim the face and neck.

Heart-Shaped Face: Tear drop and chandelier, any bottom-heavy earring, will soften a pointed chin.

Square Face: Round hoops and bottom-heavy earrings will soften the contours of the face.

Oval Face: A classic shape that works with any style, but stay away from thin and long, will pull the face down.

ASOS is fantastic for inexpensive accessories. Constantly stocking new and unique pieces that are made with quality and detail. Here are 5 under $50:

Deco Drop Stone Earrings: $21.56

Python Print Chandelier Earrings: $17.07

Drop Earrings with Vintage Look Stone and Fan Detail: $26.96

Teardrop Rope Doorknocker Earrings: $21.56

Geometric Drop Earrings: $17.07

Drugstore Find: Milani Baked Blush

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Milani Baked Blush

Milani Baked Blush is a finely-miled powder that provides a luminous glow to the cheeks. Infused with a multifold of shimmering tones, these blushers contain swirls of complexion brighteners.

Dolce Pink (pictured first), is my recommendation. The baby pink color is emphasized with bursts of gold and yellow undertones that provide an angelic glow to the skin.

These baked blushers can be comparable to MAC Mineralize Blush and Skinfinish. Both products have the same appearance with a much different price tag. The Milani products produce a glowing sheen on the skin while the MAC products tend to look more frosted and glittery. The Milani Blush also feels lighter in texture on the skin.

Milani Baked Blush is a great drugstore purchase, however, with the affordable price tag comes quality issues. There is a lot of fall-out to these products. The finely-milled powders are quite fragile and should be handled with care.

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