April 2, 2017


Given the benefit of hindsight, the style choices I made were never dependent on any medical considerations.   It is rather sad that until a name is attached to the way you feel, some of us don’t listen and adjust, not only our lifestyle, but our fashionality!  Late to the game, I realized that few most of my handbags, excluding my Longchamp Shoulder Tote were workable parts of my wardrobe.  The hunt began, three years ago, to procure a few bags that were not “Painfully Stylish”.  

Even though I have purchased and resold many handbags that I felt would meet my standard of usability, there are only two that I believe are worthy of mention, and daily use. The two bags I’ve included are both different, yet have all the desirable elements that I believe make them good choices.

My first successful purchase was a Strathberry of Scotland Tote  in the color Ruby.  I found this bag on Kickstarter*, and loved the unusual closure design.  The singular handle and bar closure really intrigued me, so I pledged, and received the bag four months later, to my delight!  This is a gorgeous, handcrafted leather bag of incredible quality.  Important elements for me are that the bag stands up by itself, it is structured, has a detachable/adjustable shoulder strap, and is light in weight.  This bag not only met all the required elements it surpassed them, the singular handle and bar closure keep the bag secure and the magnetic top seam insures privacy.  The large opening of the bag’s main compartment allows easy visibility into the bag, with one open and one zipped pocket within.  Sometimes you need a little tszuj of color in your outfit and this ruby-red bag certainly packs a wallop!   

Only a few months ago I purchased a DKNY Greenwich Smooth Leather Satchel, online. I wanted a dedicated work satchel that was light and manageable.  DKNY reveals very few details, such as color, dimensions, and weight in their descriptions.  I emailed an inquiry to DKNY about the details and received no reply, so I ordered the bag.  I did so because it was on sale for less than half the original price and quantities were low.  This bag arrives and I’m in love!  

I still hadn’t heard from DKNY, and the only questions still looming is the color, is it brown and black or maroon and black?  I didn’t care, it is just what I needed, round top handles, detachable/adjustable shoulder strap, large main compartment,  two open and one zipped pocket within, and the best is the duel front zip pocket.  All these things make life easier on days that are difficult.  That duel front zip pocket was an element I never put much value on until I found its use.  I keep all work items in this pocket, ID/Entrance Key, classroom key, and telephone, I never need to open my bag during the day, a game changer on particularly painful days.  When the school year is over, I intend to stuff the bag, and place it on a shelf until September. 

Choosing a bag that is stylish and doesn’t cause you to exert quite a bit of energy to use, is a challenge.  I do not want to choose function over fashion,  I intend to have both!  So the hunt will continue to scout out the best mainstream products.


*Kickstarter is an American public-benefit corporation based in Brooklyn, New York, that maintains a global crowdfunding platform focused on creativity. The company’s stated mission is to “help bring creative projects to life”. Kickstarter has reportedly received more than $1.9 billion in pledges from 9.4 million backers to fund 257,000 creative projects, such as films, music, stage shows, comics, journalism, video games, technology and food-related projects.

People who back Kickstarter projects are offered tangible rewards and/or experiences in exchange for their pledges. This model traces its roots to subscription model of arts patronage, where artists would go directly to their audiences to fund their work. From Wikipedia

March 21, 2017


Last week I blogged about my new experience with the Birchbox subscription service, a box of selected samples of makeup and beauty related products, that are sent to you each month.  What I didn’t share in last week’s blog is that I also subscribed to Box of Style The Zoe Report!  Box of Style The Zoe Report  is a quarterly subscription service that delivers each box filled with fashion, beauty, and lifestyle items that will upgrade the wardrobe you already own.  If you subscribe to the Box of Style, you are getting a box of items put together by Rachel Zoe for each season of the year. My subscription started with the spring box.  All items are anchored around a “Hero” piece.  The cost of this subscription is $99.99 each season/$400 yearly, and it can be cancelled at anytime. It is advertised that the total value of the products are over $400/box.  I received my first box last week and here are my impressions of what was sent.

Tribe Alive Custom Carryall, retail value: $238

♦This is the “Hero” piece; the bag is constructed with hand-woven cotton, fully lined, brass zippers, and leather trim.  It has one interior zippered compartment and two open side pockets.  It is surprisingly light in weight, roomy, and the picture does not do it justice. Tribe Alive was founded by Carly Burson. She partners with female artisans to help employ impoverished women at fair-trade wages.

Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder, retail value: $65

I was ecstatic when I found Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder in this box.  I’ve used different brands of exfoliating powders, and I knew this one was the best. I currently use this product.  The rice based powder activates when it comes into contact with water, you massage in circular motion and the powder becomes a creamy foam.  Rinse with water and you now have a soft and smoother complexion.  I use this at bedtime.  It is a great exfoliator, but even better, this was a full size bottle of the product.  Tatcha was founded by Victoria Tsai.  

Adornmonde Ivo Earrings, retail value: $62

 ♦These are a pair of convertible earrings/ear jackets.  They are a bar bell stud design, with an open circle ear jacket.  They are very nice, but are just not my style.  Adornmonde was founded by Niki Allworth, she designs limited edition jewelry.  

BKR 500ml Water Bottle, retail value: $35

♦When I opened the box and saw the glass water bottle, I was disappointed.  I had already destroyed two infusion water bottles and didn’t think I’d have better luck with this one.  The silicone cover is thick and has protected the bottle.  Yes, I’ve dropped it already, but I like it!   The lid does not leak, and the cap has a comfortable carrying ring.  The bottle and  silicone cover are easy to clean.  All glass water bottles are heavy, a small price to pay for an eco-friendly product! BKR, founded by Tol Winter and Kate Cutler.

Symology Scarf, retail value: $50

A great accent to any outfit.  Love the gold and berry color, and the softness of this scarf. This scarf can be used as a hair tie, on a bag, or draped loosely around your neck. Symbology was founded by Marissa Heyl.

butter London Piece of Cake Nail Polish, retail value:$18

Absolutely adore this nail lacquer!  I’ve only recently started using it and was very pleased to find this in the Box of Style.  What makes this lacquer so great is that it promotes stronger and healthier nails while being chip and fade resistant.  butter London does not add the following chemicals to their lacquer:   Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, DBP, Toluene, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, Xylene, and TPHP.   butter London was founded by Sasha Muir with the help of Nonie Creme.

The Spring Box  pleasantly surprised me!  I was anxious to know whether I had made a good decision when subscribing to this service, and now I anxiously await the summer edition!

Hopefully the end of Winter!


June 21, 2016

For the Love of Shoes!!!!!!!

Comfort Shoes for Summer

There is no longer joy in purchasing any type of footwear.  Since being diagnosed with RA, I have suffered with foot pain, swelling, and stiffness.  Shoes that I have worn no longer fit,  and my go to comfortable shoes bring me no more comfort to my feet.  For the past six months I looked high and low to find comfortable sandals, sneakers, and dress sandals for this summer.  The following is a description of the four pieces of footwear I purchased, and how the footwear has been working out for me.

ASICS Women’s Gel-Cumulus 17 Running Shoe-Love these shoes/sneakers.  They fit well and are comfortable.  The sneaker has great support to keep my feet from rolling.  I was able to get this sneaker in a wide width which allowed me to wiggle my toes, that sealed the deal.  I wear these sneakers all day (6-8 hours) with no problems.  I love them!

Taryn Rose Shoshana Slingback Wedge-This sandal is made with a stretch fabric with leather trim.  Even though it was a standard medium width, it was generous enough to fit me comfortably.  This is a well made sandal that I was able to wear for hours, and love that it can be dressed up or worn as a causal shoe.

Teva ‘Universal’ Flatform Sandal-Never was a fan of Teva sandals but when I saw the platforms and the gold straps I had to have them.  I was familiar with Teva knowing that they run large and the straps are adjustable, I never purchased another pair after the one pair I had worn out years ago.  These platform sandals are light weight and stable when walking.  They are truly a versatile sandal and many compliments have been received since I started to wear them.

Birkenstock ‘Arizona’ Genuine Shearling Lined Sandal-This sandal is like wearing your slippers with support.  The shearling lined sandal allows you hours of comfortable walking.  This sandal is light weight, flexible, and it absorbs shock.  Love’m!

I didn’t just end up with these four pairs of shoes, I spent endless hours trying shoes on.  I must admit I would prefer more stylish and feminine shoes but these are great substitutes.  The comfort and occasional compliments I receive makes me happy.  What really impresses me is the total comfort I have when I wear these shoes, and there are no residual problems by wearing these.  Be well!

XO - 1


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