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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.

Four Favorites: Multi-Purpose Balm

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More concentrated than most creams or lotions, these versatile salves can tackle two or more problems at once. Great to keep on your nightstand or in your handbag/gymbag these multi-purpose balms will cure – honestly – whatever ails you… soothe cracked heels, chapped knuckles, sunburn, windburn, minor scrapes, post-peel irritation, skin irritation, chafing, chapped nose, scratches, dry elbows, rough cuticles, between toes, post-wax skin, post-shave skin, dry patches, earlobes, blisters, ring fingers, tattoos, hairline prior to coloring, stretch marks. extra dewiness, tame flyaways, rebellious eyebrows, makeup mistakes and split ends. Whew!

Here are my current four favorites:

Rodial Glam Balm MULTI: A brilliant multi-use anti-aging balm that feels luxurious and solves all manner of beauty woes from flaking skin to dry knees. This cult product has been ordained “The Swiss Army Knife of Beauty Products,” for it’s wide variety of uses. The new formula “MULTI” has added the anti-aging benefits of 3D Hyaluronic Filling Spheres to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Favorite use: In-flight moisturizing mask. FULL REVIEW OF RODIAL GLAM BALM: HERE

Egyptian Magic: Living up to it’s namesake, this olive oil and honey-based balm works magic on elbows, knees and everything in between. Formulated with all-natural ingredients this magical balm has been used for centuries to care for and nourish the skin. Favorite use: a moisturizer to help extend your summer tan. FULL REVIEW OF EGYPTIAN MAGIC: HERE

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips: (Yes, you read that right…) Recommended by midwives, this balm was originally designed to relieve the dry, painful nipples associated with breastfeeding. Makeup artists discovered many other uses: hydrating skin and lips on the fly/highlighting cheek bones/eye gloss – and it soon became an industry secret. Formulated with 100% medical-grade lanolin, this balm reduces skin roughness by up to 40% in an hour. It also acts as a barrier to prevent any moisture from escaping or bacteria from entering. Favorite use: Eye cream.

The Balm – By Nieves:  This concentrated balm is made with all-natural ingredients that moisturize, heal and soothe the skin; softening coconut oil, antioxidant-rich sesame oil, calming virginia cedar, healing lavender and balancing ylang ylang. Orange extract releases an uplifting and zesty aroma and provides a healthy glow to the skin and hair. The buttery texture melts effortlessly into the skin restoring softness and elasticity immediately. Great for both man and woman, The Balm is safe to use anywhere on the body. Favorite use: Moisturize dry ends and fix fly-aways.

Drugstore Find: Palmer’s Skin Therapy Oil

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Palmers Skin Therapy Oil

Palmer’s Skin Therapy Oil is a multi-purpose moisturizer that improves the appearance of scars, uneven skin tone, stretch marks, aging, dry and damaged skin.

The oil formula is non-greasy and lightweight. The oil soaks into the skin immedietly and leaves the skin with a soft glow. Skin feels instantly hydrated and incrediably soft.

When I first tried this product, my initial thought was… average moisturizer/nothing special. After a weekend baking in the sun, I used this oil twice a day and noticed my skin was incredibly hydrated, radiant and dewy. Even a couple areas where I had failed applying sunscreen, healed almost instantly.

Palmer’s products use a Cocoa Butter Formula that smells reminiscent of sweet chocolate. The fragrance is a little potent but does not last on the skin.

This is a great summer moisturizer to replenish the skin from the sun’s harsh rays. Palmer’s Skin Therapy Oil is an inexpensive option for healthy skin.

It’s Egyptian Magic!

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Eqyptian Magic

If there were such-a-thing as a miracle cream Egyptian Magic All-Purpose Skin Cream would be on that list.

This all-natural, miraculous moisturizer cures just about any ailment. Use as a night moisturizer when skin is particularly dry, or on hair to mend split-ends or dry-scalp.  Use on the body to treat eczema/psoriasis or as a daily lip balm or cuticle conditioner. Perfect for travel, Egyptian Magic is great for an in-flight hydrating facial or to heal a pesky sunburn.

This cult-favorite cream is wielded by many celebrities, models and… Madonna.

My favorite use for this product is a make-up remover. This non-greasy balm takes off every inch of makeup and leaves skin hydrated.  

Ingredients: Olive Oil, Beeswax, Honey, Propolis, Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly.

MAGIC!

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