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Dream Céline: Mini Luggage Tote in Almond

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Dream Céline: Mini Luggage Tote in Almond

There is nothing worse than a collection of unused handbags and accessories. If they aren't getting enough use, they should be with someone who can show the accessories more love than I can. That being said, I recently sold a handful of pieces from my collection that haven't seen the light for a long while and saved enough money to go out and find my dream, all-leather Céline bag.

Though I have seen both barely-used and well-loved Céline luggage totes on online consignment stores, I felt that my first all-leather mini luggage should be purchased new. There is nothing quite like an in-store experience where you get to feel and inspect your potential, future bag.

On my most recent trip to New York, I had the opportunity to visit the wonderful stretch of retail in Soho. There, I was able to find stores that housed walls and walls of beautiful bags, and luckily one of them was stocked with Céline.

I tried on a healthy amount of bags--phantom luggages, the small trapeze, and a few minis. But the colors and textures available didn't entice me enough to purchase.

I was looking for a smooth or drummed leather mini luggage, as I have seen photos of heavily-used pebbled leather luggages that have puddled over time. Luggages in smooth leather retain their structure far better than its more-textured siblings.

Celine Interior

Indecisive and somewhat disappointed in my findings, I was almost out of the store when a neutral, smooth leather mini perched on a nearby shelf caught my eye.

It wasn't beige like the color Dune or gray for that matter. It was a very light green-gray that is a neutral chameleon.

The beauty of Céline is Phoebe Philo's minimalistic-chic aesthetic which comes in a wide array of colors. Like Balenciaga, Célines are scrumptious enough to own in any color.

Sometimes "Almond" looks more gray, green, or beige depending upon the colors that surround it. The leather piping is a beautiful, darker tone of the almond color, which makes the bag just breathtaking. Its gold hardware and Céline insignia complement the bag well.

One of my favorite aspects is that the bag is entirely made from the smooth, almond leather. Even the pouches inside and outside are fully almond leather. The bag is luxurious inside and out.

Celine Piping

The store was about to close in an hour, and the time to make my decision loomed on the horizon. It isn't a secret that Céline flies off the shelves. I was told by fellow bagaholics that when you see a Céline you like, go for it--lest you live with non-buyers remorse.

Though I know scratching of the light, smooth leather is an inevitability, I vowed to pay close attention to how I handle the bag, as I would any other piece in my collection.

I decided to take the plunge. This was one of the few times that I ran into one of Philo's gems without having it be a display piece or reserved.

The decision to cleanse my closet of older, hardly touched pieces to attain a bag ranked high on my wish list is one that I'm happy I made. Weeks later, I can say that it indeed wasn't an impulse purchase.

Just when I thought I couldn't love its subtlety and elegance more, my love for it grew even greater as I took it out for its first glimpse of sunlight.

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HOLIDAY 2012 FEATURE & INTERVIEW with Rachel Reinhardt Jewelry

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HOLIDAY 2012 FEATURE & INTERVIEW with Rachel Reinhardt Jewelry

Decorations are up! The chill is in the air (well, at least in the northeastern United States), and holiday music is abound throughout every radio and store. School isn't quite over yet, but I couldn't be more ready for the holiday season--and break from class of course.

Rachel Reinhardt Holiday 1

I was looking to write a special holiday feature a few months ago, but wasn't quite sure about what to feature. Luckily, the lovely Rachel Reinhardt and I came into contact from an earlier post about her beautiful turquoise multi-strand necklace, and everything fell into place. I am more than happy to feature one of her beautiful, hand-made creations for The Shoulder Strap's 2012 Holiday feature. Scroll down to the bottom to read an interview with the designer herself!

RR Holiday 3

This absolutely gorgeous "Layered Mixed Metal Swag Necklace" is designed and hand-crafted in the USA by Rachel Reinhardt Jewelry. From the Ashley line of her 2012 Holiday Collection, this draped necklace is quite exquisite. The golden hematite chain is strong and sturdy, and is worn very comfortably against the skin. Unlike other statement-piece necklaces of mine, this doesn't weigh heavily upon my neck. It is very delicate and precious, with elegant freshwater pearl and crystal stones . It stood out to me the second I viewed it from her Holiday catalog. Something certainly beautiful to give to a friend or loved one this holiday season.

Rachel's jewelry has been featured often in publications like 'Glamour', 'InStyle', and 'Us Weekly'. Rachel Reinhardt Jewelry is available for purchase in over 250 specialty stores worldwide and on her website, www.rachelreinhardt.com. Please see below for an exclusive interview with Rachel!

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We had the opportunity to speak with jewelry designer, Rachel Reinhardt, about her brand, her family and beautiful aesthetic. 

What drives you in your creations? What keeps you motivated as a jewelry designer?

I just simply love what I do.  I find inspiration wherever I go.  Whether it's the produce section of the grocery store admiring the ruby tones of apples or the emerald skin of a cucumber. It's there that I often find my most beautiful color combinations for my collections.  Sounds silly but it's true.  My late mother's voice keeps me motivated.  We started this journey almost 20 years ago together and unfortunately she only lived for 4 years of them.  She passed me the baton and I will never stop and I will always be forever grateful.

What are your favorite materials to work with and why? How would you describe your aesthetic?

Our collection has always been known for its color combinations and details.  We will often put a crystal or glass bead next to the finest semi precious stones.  For us, it's about creating that beautiful balance.  Our aesthetic is feminine and wearable.  I love to work with anything that has a sparkle and feels luxurious.

What advice would you give to anyone desiring to break into the fashion/jewelry industry?

Believe in yourself and your product and stay true to what you do best.  I think as a designer you should always try to maintain your aesthetic and when designing keep in mind that you are creating a brand not just a necklace or earring.  One other valuable piece of advice is to have a mentor. Try to find someone that you admire and ask for advice when you need it.  It can even be someone in a different field.  As a designer most of us are stronger on the left side of the brain and could use a little help with the right side :)

How do you see your brand evolving in the next ten years?

My hope and belief is that we will continue to create a brand that women can wear and feel glamorous doing so.  I love when I meet a customer and they tell me they are a collector. What an awesome feeling.  If I can continue to move along that path my work along with my children and husband will continue to be my greatest joy!

Thank you so much, Rachel!

STAY TUNED IN A FEW DAYS FOR A SPECIAL PROMOTION WITH RACHEL REINHARDT!

NB: Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” Rachel Reinhardt Jewelry compensated me via a gift of the beautiful necklace seen above. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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Organize in Style: Louis Vuitton Kusama Dots Infinity Agenda

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Organize in Style: Louis Vuitton Kusama Dots Infinity Agenda

So, iCal is nice. I enjoy using a cloud-controlled calendar. It's convenient and let's face it, it makes me feel "on top of things". But there is nothing that is going to take away the place of a beautiful, paper agenda.

LV Agendas

I must admit, I was particularly drawn to the yellow/black combination because I'm a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan (born and raised near "da Burgh"). It's not as subtle as my other accessories, but it's incredibly fun and is a great mini-agenda for the road. It's especially perfect when a larger agenda or even an iPad wont do.

This particular small agenda is in the Infinity Dots collection (also available in red/white and black/white), but recently released as well in a Monogram Town Dots pattern in red, green, and white. See below.

Do you use an agenda in addition or instead of the calendar on your phone, tablet, or computer?

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Rebecca Minkoff Swing Cross-Body with Double Chain in Bright Green

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Rebecca Minkoff Swing Cross-Body with Double Chain in Bright Green

I picked up this summer Rebecca Minkoff beauty at the new REVEL resort in Atlantic City. They have beautiful boutiques that sell designers like Minkoff, Valentino, and many more. This is a gorgeous cross-body sure to add to your summer color block ensemble.

Rebecca Minkoff

The bag is versatile with options for it to be carried as a cross-body, shoulder bag (using the double chain), or as a clutch (if you tuck the chains into the bag). Its hardware is light gold, and its bright green pebbled cow leather speaks to its stylishness and practicality.

The zippers on its side provide extra interior space when unzipped, but as pictured here, looks incredibly chic with its soft leather zipper dressings hanging down from the bag. This is one of my favorite grabs and is incredibly trendy with a side of economical. Gotta love Rebecca Minkoff's affordable chic!

What's your summer chic bag?

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