Breakfast at Laudi Vidni

Just before the holiday, I had the pleasure of brunching with Chicago’s chicest ladies and CS Magazine at Laudi Vidni, a custom handbag store in Lincoln Park, Chicago.

create your own handbag

customize your own handbag

You know those “why didn’t I think of that?” moments? That’s how I felt when I walked into the cute little Lincoln Park boutique.

After a few mimosas and much bag browsing, I learned that Laudi Vidni aims to empower women to think outside the logo and to be their own brand.

“The idea that a ‘logo is status’ is nonsense,” co-founder Grace Tsao-Wu said when the concept first launched. “We invite women to design a handbag that announces themselves … That’s fashion, and that’s what Laudi Vidni is all about.”

Admittedly, I had trouble spelling the brand’s name at first, until co-founder Laura Kofoid explained the logic behind it: Low-dee-vid-nee. It’s individual spelled backwards.

Brilliant.

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The beauty of Laudi Vidni’s designs is that they’re completely in the hands of the consumer. Or, in other words, here’s how it works: You visit the website (or shop in-store store) and choose from a number of different handbag styles. (Wristlets start at $95.)

Next, you pick your bag “skins,” most of which are soft Italian leathers available in every color and texture imaginable — from emerald crocodile to studded moto leather. You can customize the handles, tassels, lining and hardware, too. Due to the custom nature behind each handbag, each piece takes three to four weeks for delivery.

I fell in love with the stylish-yet-functional, perfectly proportioned envelope clutch. I customized my bag to feature a textured leopard print pattern, lush, Italian leather handle; and fire-engine red interior.

The Laudi Vidni ladies were sweet enough to surprise me with a monogrammed lucite bag tag, too. I’ve been carrying it non-stop since it landed in my mailbox, and my favorite ways to style it (for now) are with complementary neutral tones and the occasional mix of prints, like this striped white blazer.

what to wear with a striped blazer

My favorite thing about Laudi Vidni is that the possibilities are limitless. Although I was gifted this bag (thank you, LV!) I’m planning to take my sisters, mom, a few stylish friends and future bridesmaids back here for a(nother) afternoon of mimosas and bag-making. Talk about the perfect birthday/holiday/etc gift!

If you’re in Chicago, swing by the boutique to check it out for yourself. In the meantime, you can find them on Facebook and Twitter. Lastly, click on over to CS Magazine to see more photos from the Laudi Vidni brunch.

 *Note: I was not compensated to write this article; opinions are my own.

Stay Glossy During… A Regal Affair

When it comes to royal affairs (that’s prenuptials, people), I appreciate the reserve of Kate Middleton, but I like a little spice, too.

For today’s London look, the girls and I were tasked with styling a majestic look suitable for a regal occasion. (I did a little shoulder shake with my hand on my chest, just there.) Naturally, my mind immediately retreated to the wedding of Price William and Kate Middleton.

If you recall, the female guest list was a colorfully clad, reverential bunch. And as a result, I decided to follow suit.  I sourced my inspiration from a few of my favorite wedding-goers — namely,  the Queen, Joss Stone and Posh Spice Victoria Beckham –  incorporating pieces from of their looks to create my own.

… Right? What do you think?

My look was a bright, tight simple sheath dress under a canary-yellow coat, and I wore an embellished black headband as a nice change of pace from all the hats I was seeing. (And, frankly, I couldn’t find a cute fastener to save my life.)

I read that Kate Middleton did her own make-up, since she wanted William to recognize her as she walked down the aisle. So, ladies, if you don’t normally don a smoky eye — your wedding isn’t the time to try it.

Similarly, I wanted a fresh, minimal look. For my face, I applied a layer of Rimmel’s BB cream and some under-eye concealer. I don’t care to hide the scar on my left cheek. They say scars add character, right? And at any rate, I’m lucky it “hides” in my smile line.

Next, I swept on a mauve-colored shadow and a purple gel liner to make the hazel in my eyes pop. To finish the look, I layered three neutral Stay Glossy shades: Diamond Dust, Endless Nights and Seduce Me. (Don’t be afraid of Rimmel’s brown-colored glosses; they’re actually very sheer and give you a pretty, natural-looking glow.)

*Wearing: Leifsdottir dress, H&M jacket, Calvin Klein shoes, Anthropologie headband

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Click over to Rimmel’s Facebook page to see my other looks and to vote for your faves.
Thank you for your support thus far!

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Contest Rules: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. You must have Internet access, a valid email address, Facebook account, Twitter Account, Instagram account and Pinterest account to participate. Contest ends 11:59 am ET on 1/4/13. Only open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. and D.C. who received a non-transferable invitation directly from Glam Media and Coty US LLC to participate in this Contest. Void where prohibited. See complete Official Rules for full details including eligibility restrictions, method of winner determination and prize limitations. This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. In participating in this Contest, you are providing your information to Coty US LLC and not to Facebook.

The London Look isn’t just one look. It’s an attitude that embraces originality and isn’t afraid to experiment with whatever look you desire. With the range of 24 shades, Stay Glossy Lipgloss from Rimmel London gives you the freedom to mix and match endless colour combinations for any occasion. Free yourself from the beauty norms and learn more about the endless possibilities of London Looks at Facebook.com/RimmelLondonUS.

Disclosure: I have been compensated by Coty US LLC (Rimmel London US) for making these statements regarding its products.

Colorfully Monochrome

Do you ever find yourself in a color rut? I’m talking, like, stuck on a certain hue — when you find yourself pinning, shopping and dreaming in monochrome.

I’ve been dreaming up my spring wardrobe palette lately, and that’s what this punchy  shade of coral has been like for me. I know; shocking, right?

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It may be a prolonged obsession from fall, but I’m adoring the richness of bronze this season. This spiked bracelet is one of my favorite statement pieces — and it’s 15% off for you (scroll down for deets)! I find that pairing it with punchy spring colors keeps it current and fresh — especially since the design is so unexpected.

My co-workers, however, have a bit of a different take. One male colleague asked if was wearing it as a precaution for when I had to walk home solo late at night. I guess it was an office assumption that I was planning to flail about to ward off potential predators.

See, boys? Fashion is functional, too.

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coral blazer, cropped blazer, rose gold jewelry, rose gold bracelet, bronze jewelry, cynthia rowley bag, alue boutique, nerd glasses fashion, how to wear glasses, glasses for vanity

coral blazer, cropped blazer, rose gold jewelry, rose gold bracelet, bronze jewelry, cynthia rowley bag, alue boutique, nerd glasses fashion, how to wear glasses, glasses for vanityWearing: H&M blazer, Anthro blouse, Cynthia Rowley bag, j brand jeans, spike bracelet c/o Alue Boutique

**Here’s the best part: My spiked cuff is only $16 from the awesome e-boutique, Alue; but you can get 15% off your entire purchase with the code ‘CORALS’ at checkout now through June 1, 2012. Click here to check out the affordable, trendy jewelry at Alue. Happy shopping — and tweet me a pic if you purchase!