Me & Public Speaking

Some things in life are better in moderation… Like me and public speaking.


I’m candid. Really candid. I’m a woman with too many thoughts and questions and things to say.

I always wonder if people realize what they’re getting into when they ask me to speak openly at their panels and conferences. Like, LOL! They trust me? Do they read the weird shit I write and project onto the Internet?

Okay, then. It’s cool if I say exactly what’s on my mind and make no apologies for potential discomfort, right?

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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.


laudi vidni chicago

diy handbagsdesign your own handbag

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.