A Women’s Cause We Can All EmBRAce!

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What do all of the following things have in common?

• Aging
• Smoking cigarettes
• Losing or gaining weight
• Exercising more or less
• Your menstrual cycle
• Taking medications such as birth control pills
• Pregnancy and nursing
• Eating foods rich in estrogen
• Getting plastic surgery

While you think about it, read my story…

Unhappy with my 34Bs, I had my first breast enlargement surgery at 21, which brought me up to a 36C. I was left with a bunch of too-small bras, but I barely took notice — I was too busy going WAY overboard shopping for new bras and bikini swimsuits. Fast forward 9-1/2 years: Something was amiss, and my plastic surgeon confirmed what I was already 99.99% sure of: that my right implant was leaking. Fortunately the saline was not harmful, but that meant I was facing another trip under the knife. Luckily I had purchased the extended warranty (yes, just like your car and your stereo system, this was an option made available by the manufacturer of the implants), so although I went up a size and switched to the new cohesive silicone gel-filled implants (Implants filled with liquid silicone were of course banned by the FDA for 14 years; CLICK HERE for a history lesson), the warranty covered most of the surgery, and if this is something you may be considering, if it is offered, BUY THE WARRANTY! Anyway, after the second surgery, I wore a 36D. That was all well and good, but I had a rather large collection (nearly 50!) of new and gently-used bras that were a size too small, which I donated to a local charity.

So while not all of you have had two complete overhauls of your bra sizes, all of the things on that list above can cause a woman’s breast size to change between puberty and menopause. Some of these changes are temporary, like those caused by hormone fluctuations during your monthly cycle; others may last longer, like if the number on the scale increases or decreases – about 20 pounds either way, and you will probably need a different size bra. In fact, studies have shown that your breast size will change an average of 6 to 8 times during your lifetime! Nothing, not even breast enhancement or reduction surgery, can etch your bra size in stone.

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Another interesting fact is, about 8 out of 10 women are currently wearing the wrong bra size! The following are just a handful of clues that you are part of the majority:

• Your skin bulges around the outside of your bra
• Your bra straps often slip off your shoulders, or they are so tight they dig into your skin
• The piece of fabric in between the cups isn’t lying flat
• The wires in your bra dig into your skin
• The back of your bra rides up, rather than sitting straight across your back

Sound familiar? Then you may be due for a fitting! Many department stores and specialty lingerie shops offer free bra fittings, including Nordstrom, Kohl’s, and Victoria’s Secret. And of course, there’s also an app for that! Do it yourself at home with the ThirdLove app (available on iTunes, with an Android version on the way.) It prompts you to take two photos of yourself and, in combination with their cool image recognition technology, somehow (magically?) accurately measures you. It took a couple tries to get the photos right, but once I got it, it was spot-on.

Want more thought-provoking trivia about your “twins?” Read this article: “Cosmo’s Boob Bible: 20 Surprising Facts About Your Set” – no joke, this is interesting stuff!

So, given all of the above, whether your cup size has gone up or down naturally or via surgery or if you have been wearing the wrong size all along, you more than likely have a few (or many!) bras lying around that no longer fit. Further, we all probably own a few bras that are in deceng shape and still fit, but that we no longer wear.

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Want some good karma? The main reason for this post is that BRAS happen to be one of the most requested/needed items by places like the YWCA and The Road Home. And yet, they are seldom donated. Imagine not having the means to buy a decent bra? It’s definitely something often taken for granted. But with the help of you and your friends (pass it on!), we can provide this necessity to so many women in need!

So why not clear out some space in your closet or dresser AND contribute to a good cause? We at Donna Bella Designs have teamed up with the awesome staff at The Rose Clinic for a BRA DRIVE!!! Donate what you no longer need to those in need, and you will receive something special from Donna Bella Designs! Utah County residents can bring donations to The Rose Clinic (CLICK HERE for a map and directions) anytime during their business hours (9am-5pm). If you live in the Salt Lake area, we have added an additional drop off spot downtown at the Glitz Gift Store, which is located at the Sheraton Hotel on 150 W. 500 S. Donations will be accepted there during regular business hours, which are 7am-10pm.

We are planning on collecting donations for this BRA DRIVE until the end of December. Send this to family and friends and together we can make a big difference!

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Visit the BRA DRIVE 2014 page on our website for full details.

Spring & Summer Denim Trends: “Throwback Thursday” (Part 1 of 4)

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Have you ever posted a “vintage” picture of yourself on social media for “Throwback Thursday?” Whether you are old enough to remember black and white photography, or received your first cell phone around your 10th birthday, we all have old pictures lying around, whether they are in boxes, albums, scrapbooks, or on your computer (or, more likely, your iPad.) I am going to briefly indoctrinate any newbies to #tbt, because I, for one, had never heard of it prior to a few weeks ago.

The earliest known use of the term “Throwback Thursday” was in 2006, but it didn’t catch on in the social media sphere until Instagram introduced hashtags in early 2011. In researching this I did see an Instagram handle mentioned a few times that may have been the first to use the hashtag, but that which has no way to verify it may or may not be true. Regardless, it started somewhere and was spread by a few, whose friends/followers likely also thought it was fun so they posted and talked and tweeted about it…this is exactly how news, trends, scandals, and everything else that can be communicated spreads like wildfire. I remember when communication is done user in person or over the telephone. Now we have so many ways to communicate with so many different people, often simultaneously, so it’s no wonder I often see whole families eating out for dinner in absolute silence, unless you count the clicking of keys and the sounds made by games like Candy Crush as relevant noise. This has yet to completely eliminate face-to-face conversation, but it certainly happens a lot less these days. Of course that’s not a good thing in regards to building social skills, but it’s certainly an invaluable tool when news needs to travel quickly, like when there is a missing child, and has become an excellent way for businesses of all sizes to advertise and promote two they are and what they do. Anyway, back to this particular hashtag – by November of that year, the practice had become so popular that it soon was abbreviated to #tbt (for which my fat fingers are very grateful!), and by the following January was defined in the Urban Dictionary, which used to be a great tool for learning about slang, but has apparently deteriorated. I don’t know much about that, but I do know that once something spreads to celebrities like Kim Kardashian, who with her family has built an entire empire out of a reality show, social media, and…not much else. But if she has so many followers on social media, she must be posting and tweeting stuff that people are interested in. So along with many other celebrities, she helped popularize it, and in July 2012, more than 9.1 million photos were posted by Instagram users with either #ThrowbackThursday or the preferable #tbt attached, making it the 15th most popular hashtag on Instagram at the time. People continue to pull out their boxes and online folders of memories frozen in time, and on Thursdays, use #tbt to share them with the world. Of course not everybody is going to care about the pictures I just posted on our Instagram site, but as I use social media mainly to communicate with family members, I hope my cousin sees them, because he appears in them, and as we are busy adults now and can no longer travel back-and-forth to visit each other very often, pictures are an excellent way for us to recall the good times and get some good laughs in.

So how is all this connected to handbags and fashion? The denim trends for this spring and summer all fit nicely into four distinct categories, and since these trends are revivals of styles that were insanely popular at some time in the past, tying it to Throwback Thursday was the first thing that popped into my mind, or rather onto my computer screen, as I began to do a bit of research on all things related to jeans. It is also an ode to the photos and fashion fads of the past. Some will forever be frozen in time, while others will suddenly appear in the magazine you are reading as the next big thing (again). For each trend that warranted research into its origins, I will be providing a brief history of how it first came about, so if anything this will be educational. I also have stuff to share about each one, because as a child of the 80s, I am old enough to have experienced every one of them, whether for a few months or for several years. Along with sharing some of my best (and worst) recollections involving denim, I will try to point out the similarities and differences between past and present “versions.” Another reason for the theme is that, since they were all pretty trendy at some time, a search for #tbt on any social media site will unveil a plethora of fashion inspiration, as some of these trends have not changed very much at all, not to mention other trends which have come and (thankfully) gone, things like Hammer pants, poufy bangs of all heights, scrunchies, and so many other things you May or may not remember. It’s just too bad I couldn’t find any of my old pics showing the nice little ball I teased my bangs into each morning for many years, or the big chiffon bows I used in my hairstyles (along with scrunchies, of course.)

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L to R: Vanessa Hudgens in Frankie B. Hipster Overalls; Katie Holmes in 7 For All Mankind Bell Bottoms; Nicole Richie in Vintage High-Rise Levi’s; Alessandra Ambrosio rocking double denim in a Denim Vest and Destroyed Shorts, both by Colcci; Model wearing Max & Co. Denim Culottes

Recognize any of these styles? Do any of them bring back memories of good times past? Hopefully some of them not only will evoke these positive recollections, but will also get you psyched to once again give them a spin. Overalls are at the top of MY list, and I will surely dork out over them in a second! I hope you are ready to first take a few trips down memory lane to various decades, and then have fun shopping for these styles once again (or, for you younger girls, perhaps for the first time!)

Also, being a company that sells handbags, I chose to mention a few of the bags we have that I think fit these trends quite well. All are available on OUR WEBSITE, and if the purse’s name is a link, you can click on it and be taken to our site, where you can find out more about that style, any additional colors available, and it’s features & specifications. But basic information, including prices and whether or not it is part of our leather collection. For styles that I found on the Internet, with the exception of those found in the collage below, I have provided prices and have listed the sites on which I first saw them. For the more expensive styles, I myself would first look for them on eBay, or perhaps shop around for the best price, because I am in no way endorsing these websites as the only places to go to find these styles.

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L to R: Me, modeling my favorite beat-up Levi’s Overalls; Overalls by Lucky Brand; Overalls by Silver Jeans; Womens Destructed Overalls by Tinseltown, $39.99, at tillys.com; “Erin” Rolled Crop Relaxed Overalls in Lost Paradise by True Religion, $358, at bloomingdales.com, Denim Overalls in Bug Out wash by BLANKNYC, $118, at bloomingdales.com
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L to R: Harleigh Messenger Bag, $45.95; Fiametta Shoulder Bag, $25.99; Farin Large Hobo Handbag, $67.95; Droste Bucket Handbag, $62.95

Ever since they started popping up in stores and online, while simultaneously being named in fashion magazines as one of the top denim trends for this spring and summer, I have been putting my favorite pair of overalls back into my regular wardrobe rotation…more on them in a minute. Overalls were actually first created around the year 1750 as protective garments worn over regular clothing by people like mechanics and factory workers. I am so glad they eventually evolved into a fashionable garment, valued more for their looks than their function. I remember how popular they were in the 1990’s, though I want to forget the “hanging strap” look that somehow became popular that I admittedly participated in. I myself wore my overalls well into the 21st century, as I like their combination of looks and comfort. The last pair I bought, the “favorites” mentioned above, are a style made by Levi’s. I love the way they look and fit, with wonderfully deconstructed denim and unique, suspender-style straps that crisscross in the middle, thus exposing a lot more skin in the back. Do you think the term “sexy overalls” is an oxymoron? Think again! I never got rid of them, and continued to wear them for some time despite not seeing them much anymore, except on farmers. I have already posted a couple of pictures of them on our Instagram and Tumblr. accounts, just to make sure everyone knows that I called this one, I knew they’d come back again at least once in my lifetime. My only obstacle is that my Levi’s have little in common as far as fit goes with the new pairs I have seen thus far. The NEW styles seem to all feature a much skinnier cut, and although they look great on these models above, I am a bit afraid of how they will look on me. As I will explain later, skinny jeans weren’t a style I embraced willingly, at least at first. So these new, modernized overalls, even though I am drooling over them (especially the pair of True Religions in the picture!), make me feel slightly hesitant to jump right in and try some of them on. One thing I have come to appreciate about overalls, at least the old styles, is there adjustable, roomy fit, perfect for those yucky days when you feel bloated and nothing else fits. Well, it seems the times are a-changin’ (and the overalls are a-shrinkin’!), so I guess I’ll just have to rely on my Victoria’s Secret sweats to get me through those “drawstring only” days that will of course come up every time my Levi’s are dirty. Such is life. I wonder, will I be able to get used to a “skinny” version? More importantly, will they stick around for a while, being embraced as a whole by the public? Time will tell!

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L to R: Briella Leather Hobo, $160.95; Petite Charlie Flare Jeans in Clear Horizon by True Religion, $228, at zappos.com; Lido Crossbody Bag, $32.99; 1981 High Rise Flare Jeans in Castilla Wash by Guess, $39.97, at shop.guess.com; Samantha Shoulder Bag, $34.99; The Bell Jean in Cypress by Rag & Bone, $176, at singer22.com

I distinctly remember my own pairs of bell bottoms, which were called “super flares,” but they were no different than the pairs I saw in old pictures of my mom and dad. Most of them were Silver Jeans, of which I had quite the collection about 10 years ago. I still own one pair of Silvers, and they are definitely super flares! Back when they were strictly known as bell bottoms, a style that was actually created in the early 19th century as the bottom half of U.S. Navy uniforms. It seems that a lot of denim styles have similar origins, and were initially created to be functional far before they were considered fashionable. The unisex “bells” first got their footing as a wardrobe must in the 1960s, which continued for some time, until Brooke Shields made that infamous Calvin Klein ad and spoiled all the fun, and the bottom legs of jeans got much narrower. When I began caring about my clothes in the early 1990s, “bells” were long gone, a thing of the past. Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with tapered styles for long (looking back, the style just looks terrible on me!), though, because although bell bottoms didn’t suddenly become popular again, the style was reinterpreted in the early to mid-1990s, when the formerly super-wide styles were reintroduced as narrower-legged flares and boot-cuts. Some companies stuck with the modest flare that caught on quickly, while a handful of others, Silver Jeans included, simply widened the flares on some of their styles, so although they weren’t called “bells,” the bottom leg measurements of one pair I remember owning was 23″ around. There is kind of a gray area between what is considered a flare and what is considered a bell bottom, because both terms are used these days to describe flares of the same and similar sizes. So I guess I could also say that flares were re-reinterpreted, or interpreted in reverse as bell bottoms, because the only thing that has changed is the language – more styles are being called bell bottoms, even those that would have been called flares back in the day. I am starting to confuse myself with all of this! I neglected to mention that skinny jeans have proliferated for a very long time, and while they dominate my jeans wardrobe today, when they first came out I was absolutely adamant about not buying them because they were so tight, and it didn’t help that years of gymnastics had given my legs some muscle. Each time I tried them on I felt like a freak, and could almost hear my muscular calves screaming for air. I simply stuck to the flared styles I already owned, and I really can’t remember the first time I gave in and bought a pair of skinny jeans, but think they couldn’t have been that skinny! I am curious to see what happens to denim styles, or rather, the bottom half of them, because if we shoppers embrace the “new bells” enough to knock those skinny jeans from their throne. Since companies are increasingly focused on the preferences of the millennial generation, it will probably be up to them to determine which styles ultimately stay on the shelves. Maybe they all will, but we don’t know yet if they can, as different trends and styles are constantly fighting for shelf space, and the department stores won’t just build some more shelves to accommodate every style – they like to sell whatever is most popular, so that is what gets the shelf space. We could see another huge shift in bottom leg measurements, like when bell bottoms were essentially replaced by the tighter-fitting styles. I hope I am not starting to beat a dead horse with this, but I guess the bottom line is that it is very interesting to me to see what stays and what goes, and to understand why it happens and who is kind of to blame. I have realized that, trends follow a sort of life cycle, coming to life for a a while, but dying when the world sees fit for them to go, like it’s “their time.” I am not sure whether or not I believe in the reincarnation of humans (I go back and forth), but I know for sure that trends have the ability, that it is part of their life cycle after they leave us. We just can’t always predict if they will return in their original form, or if they will come back looking a little bit different.

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This next style, like many denim trends, is just a feature found on every pair of jeans, but it has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows…literally. I am talking about jeans’ rises, the measurement or space between the crotch (where all four seams meet) and the top of the waistband. As I have laid out above, these measurements sometimes reach extremes. Before I delve into that, I’ll note that higher rises seemed to be all that existed when my grandma was a child, but around the late 1950s to the early 60s, they first began to shrink, and alas, “hip huggers” were born! They merged with the bell bottom trend to form (what else?) bell-bottomed hip-huggers, and were also associated with the hippie counterculture.. Their popularity grew even more when rock stars like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin were rarely seen wearing anything else, and remained popular throughout the 1970s as disco music swept the nation. Then came the 1980s, and by the time I was a preteen and started caring about fashion and brand names in the early 90s, high rises and tapered legs were the popular styles, and Guess and Girbaud jeans were the brands to wear. Never mind the fact that they were two of the most expensive brands on the market at the time, because being a stylish 11-year-old was far more important than my mom’s bank account at the time (or so I made it seem). She and her bank account were greatly relieved when I “matured” into a shy, awkward 13-year-old who adopted a “uniform” of baggy Levi’s Silver Tab jeans paired with equally baggy and mostly black t-shirts emblazoned with rock bands’ logos. Metallica and Alice in Chains shirts made up most of my collection. Basically, I dressed like a rebellious teenage boy. I only wish I could find one of those pictures to post for Throwback Thursday! Finally, at the turn of the century, the length of rises began to fall once again, and low-rise hip-huggers were once again popular. They provide an excellent example of a trend going too far, because not only did rises continue to get shorter and shorter, designers followed suit, manufacturing jeans with rises so low that some didn’t even have zippers (see the picture in the upper left corner of the above collage). I never bought jeans that shocking, but I do remember loving my William Rast Savoys (the brand was the brainchild of Justin Timberlake and one of his buddies). They had maybe a 4- or 5-inch rise, so the tiny zipper was almost unnecessary. They were my go-tos for a while, but as I began to see pictures on the Internet – posted in a mocking way of course – of the thing that happens when you bend over when you have really low-slung jeans on, I began phasing out another pair of my favorite jeans. R.I.P., Savoys! I’m not sure how long it took for the rest of society to start adding more fabric denim styles, and who knows, v may have been the last one to cover myself up. At any rate, when the Japanese came out with what they called “Bikini Jeans,” we should have known things had gone too far! If you’re curious about these beauties, or if you don’t believe me when I say Chuck Norris Action Jeans are very real, read this article on the web entitled, “12 Strangest Jeans” – funny stuff. Anyway, it seems the trend these days is veering towards styles with much– higher rises, so that we’ll all be demurely covered up, at least on our bottom halves. For me the style is a bit daunting, because I have always worn jeans that hit below my belly button! However, there is one style I have a lot of faith in and want to try, 7 For All Mankind’s Ginger jeans, a high-rise trouser style that seems to be very popular, and is currently sold out on a lot of websites, but currently “in stock” at my favorite auction site!

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The “Texas Tuxedo” is finally heading into oblivion, at least in our fashion vocabularies. It is being replaced by the term “Double Denim,” which refers to the same fashion style but doesn’t come with so many negative connotations. Of course, both mean an outfit that features a denim piece worn on top and on the bottom. The idea of double denim being a “fashion faux pas” was exacerbated by all the negative publicity surrounding those coordinated all-denim outfits that Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake wore to the 2001 American Music Awards. For that one misstep, the two endured a lifetime’s worth of ridicule. I am not blaming Britney and Justin, but rather all the unnecessary shaming and negativity, for the fact that it took so long for us to realize how good double denim can look. Luckily, that time has passed because people began to rebel against the fashion machine, wearing their Tuxes with pride, and today the look is being lauded as a HUGE trend in fashion. Also formerly thought to be very difficult to pull off, if you study the fashion forward looks above, you will start to notice a pattern: most are simply mixing up the colors, fabrics, washes, textures, and other characteristics we see in jeans. This makes it work because then the pieces making up the outfit appear different enough for us to forget about all the denim, and instead we notice how cool the outfit looks. Another thing I’ve noticed is that, especially when pieces are similar in color, breaking them up with other items of clothing such as T-shirts, belts, and other accessories has the same effect. For instance, Zoë Saldana wears almost identical shades on top and bottom in one of her looks above, but it seems to work because of the added accessories. Other than that, I don’t know her secret to making it work – that’s simply a theory. Hopefully by now you are as excited as I am to begin mixing and matching your denim, but if you’re not quite there yet, check out all of the “double denim” boards on Pinterest. There are also several websites dedicated to all things jeans, my favorite being Denimology. The site not only contains a gazillion pictures of people wearing jeans, but also includes with the pictures descriptions that let the reader know all about the jeans: the brand, specific style, and wash of jeans that appears in the picture, and often they go even further by providing a link to where you can buy them. Cool, huh?

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Top Row, L to R: Wide Leg Cropped Denim “Bonny” Culotte Pants by Corey, $248, at shopburu.com; Chambray Culottes by See by Chloé, $171.49, at us.asos.com; “Wayward” Denim Culottes in Bleached wash by Rachel mComey, $358, at madewell.com; Denim Culottes by Adam Lippes, $780, at saks.com; Bottom Row, L to R: Zara Leather Tote, $189.95; Hayden Leather Tote, $147.95; Blevins Tote Bag, $65.95

I saved the culottes for last not only because the trend terrifies me, but because I really didn’t know what to write about them! So forgive me, because I am kind of winging it right now. I can start with the history, that culottes began as part of military uniforms, and were first worn by women as a means of making it more comfortable for them to ride horses (while remaining modestly dressed, as the times dictated). I recall owning a handful of them, which I wore throughout grade school, though the only pair I remember were short and black, with an allover floral pattern and a flowy fabric that was cut in a manner that perfectly disguised them as a skirt. I also have not seen them “come back” for a while, except perhaps in the form of the gauchos that were briefly popular around the time I graduated from high school. My strategy: I am going to try them, while pretending I am just wearing a denim skirt, as I love denim skirts! But I still might not like them, and that is perfectly fine, as long as I can at least get a few laughs out of my brief foray into the new world of culottes.

Which brings me back to what I said earlier, either somewhere above or in my blog about trends in general, about there not being any RULES in fashion. I truly believe that, because we should ALL wear the things WE like, the clothing and outfits that make us feel sexy & confident, and the new styles that get us excited to go shopping. Trends will always be a big part of fashion, sometimes sticking around for a while, other times for only a short time, The beauty of it all is that we can embrace the things that we love, and leave everything else on the shelves. That is up to YOU and ONLY you. That’s why I continued to wear my Levi’s overalls long after they were considered popular and had virtually disappeared from stores everywhere (except for the baby stores and departments.) The only important thing was that I still loved them, and didn’t care if nobody else did. And now that they have made a comeback, I have a head start because I still own a pair.

I hope you enjoyed this blog as much as I enjoyed writing it, and hopefully I have done my job by turning you on to some new “throwback” trends that are coming back from the dead, regardless of whether or not they interest you or make you want to go shopping for something new.

I would love for you to share your thoughts about this piece by clicking the “Leave a Comment” link above. Tell me about your favorite pair of jeans from times past, which I hope you still have (or have literally worn to death!) Or let me know about the “throwback” trend in jeans that excites you the most. Either way, I will do my best to respond to every comment, as I love to engage with my readers. And don’t forget to share a few of your best #tbt pictures next Thursday – please include me (@donnabelladesigns) so I can’t miss it!

***ADDED MAY 21***
Last Friday, a friend of mine posted a collage of pics, circa 1999-2000, on Facebook and tagged it “Flashback Friday.” So now I am confused. Is it Throwback Thursday or Flashback Friday? Or perhaps we can post our old pics on any day of the week and tag them using any catchy, fitting word with the same first letter along with the chosen day of the week (like…”Monday Memories”), and just wait and see if it catches on and spreads like things do these days on social media? I kind of like that idea, because that collage of snapshots of “the good old days” really made me smile. Thanks, Natalie & Laura!

NEW CONTEST!!! WHAT MAKES YOUR MOM THE BEST?!?

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When you were in grade school, do you remember making a card in class for your mom for Mother’s Day? I distinctly remember mine, because it was a simple cut out card that, when opened, spelled out “WOW MOM” (which is technically called an ambigram, A word or phrase that, when turned upside down, spells out another word.) For our next contest, we are giving away something just as special, but a little more age-appropriate: first, a trip to Wendover on the Fun Bus, plus we are throwing in an extra Surprise Prize to sweeten the Grand Prize Package.

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All you have to do is have a Facebook page, and if you haven’t already done so, you have to “Like” our Facebook page at:

http://www.facebook.com/DonnaBellaDesignsHandbags

The contest is at or near the top of the page, entitled “NEW CONTEST FOR MOTHERS DAY!!!!” Now, to enter, simply post a comment on the contest page (are any post thereafter which mentions entering the Mother’s Day contest) using the following sentence, filling in the blanks: “My mom is __________ because __________.” For example, if I could enter the contest, my entry would say something like, “My mom is the best in the world because she has always supported me, rain or shine.” The only hard part is that your entry has to be 20 words or less. We want you to think of and sum up what makes your mom so special in just one short sentence. Then, on May 15, all eligible and valid entries will be put into a drawing for the Grand Prize Package, and will be notified the next day, on May 16.

Ready to enter? Here is a direct link to the contest on our Facebook page:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=763433603702047&id=148283925217021

And don’t worry if you do not live in Utah, or if you are under 21 or don’t gamble. If this is the case and you are the winner of our drawing, we will simply make the Surprise Prize bigger & better, and worth as much or more than the original Grand Prize Package!

The Story Behind National Denim Day

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I find it to be a pretty strange coincidence that a few weeks ago, I decided to do a 4-part series of blogs about denim trends, because I love jeans…who doesn’t? Then I found out that April 24 was National Denim Day and thought, what a coincidence? I was thinking it was just one of those fun “holidays,” days arbitrarily designated to celebrate the things we love in life (like jeans). But I didn’t have to look very far to find that I was way off the mark (though by then a few days had passed – though I can say that I did wear denim on Denim Day!). The day has a meaning and movement behind it that goes far deeper than I could have imagined – wearing denim on National Denim Day is symbolic of your support of the movement’s aim to get rid of the outdated views and preconceptions that people still have about sexual assault and its victims. Wearing jeans is also relevant because this terrible incident of injustice that led to Denim Day would likely not have happened had the victim not been wearing jeans at the time.

Let me back up and start from the beginning to avoid confusion. In Italy in the early 1990s, an 18-year-old girl was picked up by her married 45-year-old driving instructor, supposedly for a lesson. Instead, he drove her to an isolated area and sexually assaulted her. Her parents were very supportive and helpful as she pressed charges against him. First he was convicted of a lesser offense, indecent exposure in a public place. The victim was not satisfied with the outcome, so she filed an appeal (unlike in our court system, in Italy both the plaintiff and the defendant can appeal the verdict.), and he was eventually convicted of all charges, including rape, and sentenced to 34 months in jail. Next, it was his turn to appeal his conviction, and in 1999 – 7 years after the original crime was committed – the case made it all the way up to Italy’s highest court. In a matter of days, the court ruled in favor of the formerly-convicted rapist, overturning his conviction and releasing him from jail. Simply put, it was stated that the case lacked evidence for a conviction; however, in it’s official ruling, the court stated: “It is common knowledge … that jeans
cannot even be partly removed without the effective help of the person wearing them … and it is impossible if the victim is struggling with all her might.” The Chief Judge explained further that “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”

Understandably outraged by the verdict, the women in the Italian Parliament sprung into action by wearing jeans to work as a means of expressing their protest against the court’s ruling. The case made international news, and motivated the California Senate and Assembly to join the protest by wearing jeans to work. It further spread to Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, a nonprofit whose mission is to eliminate all types of violence in our society. They provide emergency help and other services to assist victims as they recover, community education about prevention and other important issues (such as the legal definition of consent), and a slew of other empowering benefits and forms of advocacy to it’s clients.

Since it’s induction in 1999, the Denim
Day movement and message quickly spread throughout the nation, as well as to 120 foreign countries. Wearing jeans on the designated Wednesday each year in April has become a symbol of expression, that we as a society will no longer accept biased and destructive misconceptions about all types of violence and its victims. In addition to wearing jeans to express your support, you can get involved in many other ways – CLICK HERE to view the page on Peace over Violence’s web site about how you can further support the cause, and not just on Denim Day.

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Earth Day Fashion

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We all know there are things we can do to help conserve energy and preserve the environment. Earth Day is observed today, but It is on the calendar to remind us to establish these habits and be conscious of our actions every day, not just one day a year!

One thing you can do that isn’t mentioned as often as things like turning off the water when you’re brushing your teeth and unplugging electronics when they’re
not in use, is to seek out eco-friendly fashion. There are so many companies and brands out there that aim to make clothing that has less of an impact on the environment by using sustainable fabrics and materials and employing innovative manufacturing processes, among other practices that make less of a carbon footprint. Some also partner with artisans in some of the poorest communities by using their skills, such as weaving, and provide them with a fair income in exchange for their craftsmanship.

I am going to list just a handful of these companies with brief descriptions of what they’re doing to make their company eco-friendly. There are hundreds more of these brands and retailers that fall into the “green” category, but I chose to feature just a few, all of which I have heard about or read about in magazines, the ones that kept popping up in my searches.

<a href="https://LOOMSTATE – One of the original eco-conscious fashion retailers, they have been using certified organic cotton for thei T-shirts and jeans since 2004. They use sustainable fabrics such as tencel and manufacturing practices that save water and eliminate waste. They also recently launched their Loomstate-321 line, which includes items designed to be worn up to five different ways. This is not only great for the consumer, who saves money with these pieces by getting more mileage out of their versatility, but it also reduces waste.

PEOPLE TREE – Look no further than this UK-based retailer for environmentally-friendly, yet fashion-forward clothes for men, women, and children, the majority of which are organic and fair trade certified. The company has also pioneered new production methods that have less of an environmental impact than traditional methods.

CARRIE PARRY – Awarded the Ethical Fashion Forum’s 2011 Innovation USA Award for her feminine and timeless clothing line that not only focuses on beauty, but also sustainability and social responsibility. She uses environmentally-conscious fabrics like organic wool and recycled polyester, and also helps support artisans in poorer communities around the globe by purchasing their handwoven wools, allowing them to earn a decent income.

EDUN – You have likely heard of this brand because it was founded by U2’s Bono and his wife Ali Hewson. They originally launched the label to incite positive changes in Africa by using fair trade-based practices. Hewson noted that, with the launch Of their clothing line, she wanted to prove that it’s possible to “make a for-profit business where everybody in the chain is treated well.” Their denim line had already gained a big following, and then they partnered with Diesel jeans to create the DIESEL+EDUN collection, which is entirely manufactured in Africa and features looks inspired by African culture.

Some mainstream brands have also leaned toward becoming more “green.” H&M began manufacturing their Conscious Collection in 2012, and on April 10 of this year debuted their third annual sustainable fashion collection, now called it’s Conscious Exclusive Collection. The latest pieces feature gorgeous details like find embroidery and embellishments. few years ago, and just introduced the newest pieces, which feature gorgeous details like embroidery and embellishments, yet remain quite affordable for the average woman. Another brand that houses a collection that focuses on more ethical practices is ASOS. Despite being one of the top online retailers, they launched their Green Room Collection in 2010, focusing on using sustainable and organic fabrics, fair trade practices and environmentally-sound manufacturing methods. The line’s popularity has grown greatly in the past couple of years, so it should be around for a while.

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To Wear or Not to Wear? The Enigma of Trends

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A couple weeks ago, I posted a blog about the latest trends in the world of handbags, while pointing out a few of our Donna Bella Designs handbags that fall into those categories. It got me thinking about who or what determines each seasons “ins” and “outs,” as well as what influences how long these trends stick around. I know the big-name designers, and what they put down their runways at their fashion shows influences trends and the styles that ultimately end up in stores, but consumers also play a big role, because we are the people buying the stuff, and if things aren’t being sold, then nobody is making money (which is always the bottom-line, right?)

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Since the fashion items on these lists change so often, when bloggers and other fashion experts start naming the trends you should wear each season, while I do take note of what their opinions are, I don’t just go out and buy everything that seems to be “in style” at any given moment or season. That would go against My Golden Rule of Fashion, which is to wear whatever makes you happy and confident, while periodically taking a few steps out of your clothing comfort zone to try something new (rather than just following the trends). I suppose we all have to follow them to some degree because those are the items that end up in stores (unless of course you are one of those fashion geniuses that can put together cheap and chic outfits at Goodwill, which makes me extremely jealous because I would save a lot of money!) Even if I was the type to allow trends to greatly affect what ultimately ends up in my closet, it would still be impossible for me to just go out and buy every “of-the-moment” item! Trends aren’t always one-size-fits-all, because I can’t think of anyone who could pull them all off while still feeling confident looking great (but if you feel you can, cheers to you!) Consider the peplum trend, which I avoided like the plague forever, until I tried on a few tops and actually found one that looked cute (though I still didn’t buy it). The style just was not made for my proportions. And don’t even get me started on super-skinny jeans, because I can’t even get those on!

So even though I don’t follow fashion trends to a T, I find it incredibly interesting to read about them, watch as they get popular, then see how long it takes for them to either disappear completely or evolve…and sometimes devolve. Like when low-rise jeans first became popular, they were around for quite a while as the denim detail to look for (and still show up in denim collections these days.) But then I began seeing jeans with lower and lower rises (and shorter and shorter zippers!) A lot of us bought into the trend, and found ourselves upgrading our grooming habits, struggling to find underwear that actually stayed under the pants, or just skipped that part completely. I was one of those people that just decided to rock the peekaboo panty look. Not cool!

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Another fashion topic that sparks my curiosity, while also being quite perplexing, is all of that mumbo-jumbo about what NOT to wear and lists of trends that “must go.” Often times fashion trends are simultaneously being called “in” and “out,” further solidifying my desire to let the things that I like and feel confident in – rather than letting others’ ideas of what I should be wearing – take over my wardrobe. It is also amusing to look at Glamour magazine, which lists fashion and beauty “Do’s ” and “Dont’s” throughout its magazine. Rather than naming what is in style and what is not, these generally focus on currently popular looks and items and the ways they either work or DON’T work (and they go even further by placing a black bar over the face of each fashion faux pas offender).

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As I mentioned before, all of this talk about trends catches my attention so much that I have decided to highlight just one category of fashion and name what I have found to be the top looks for spring and summer. Since we all own a pair or 20, and they are my personal favorite shop for (besides handbags), I chose to feature JEANS. I really have no idea how fashion magazines and the like can come up with lists of the top fashion trends each season in every category of fashion, because narrowing down my list of trends in denim was hard enough, and considering the fact that I was only able to narrow it down to 20, I am going to do a series of 4 blogs on denim trends because, like magic, they all seemed to fall into one of 4 categories. At the same time, on our Tumblr. blog, I will be breaking down some great denim outfits and suggesting pieces, including Donna Bella handbags of course, that you can buy to create similar looks for yourself. Each will feature my fashion crush of the moment, actress and former Dancing With the Stars Pro Julianne Hough, who it seems is rarely photographed wearing something other than jeans! I hope you enjoy this venture, and I would love for you to post your comments and join the conversation about these two fashion mainstays that are, at least to me, the most fun to shop for: jeans and handbags!

Thanks & Congrats to Our March “Hot Mess Handbag Makeover” Contest Winners!

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Our “Hot Mess Handbag Makeover” contest ended last month on the 27th, and first of all we at Donna Bella Designs would like to thank those who submitted their entries on Facebook!

It was very close, but the GRAND PRIZE went to Amanda Whitley, whose winning entry is shown below:

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I know what it is like to spill a drink in your purse (I have sadly done it twice), so I know exactly how it feels to ruin not only your bag, but almost everything inside of it! Amanda’s story is very relatable, so as our choice for 1st place, she got to pick her favorite out of our three “lucky green” designer Donna Bella handbags! Congratulations, and enjoy your new bag! Oh, and a bit of advice: don’t ever store a drink in your bag again! 😉

We chose Megan Malicoat as our 2nd place winner (again, this contest was very hard to judge.) Her submission:

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I am just like Megan, in that I have to own large handbags – by carrying everything around with me, it is harder for me to forget things, though I really wish the strategy was foolproof! As a result, it usually takes a good digging to find things like my keys and my phone in my own “black hole.” We wish we could have handed out two winners new handbags, but Megan will get to pick out her own Donna Bella handbag and snag it for half price with her prize, a coupon good for 50% OFF any of our Fashion Handbags! Have fun shopping, girl!

Finally, an important message for everyone (that means you, reader!), look for our NEW April contest to be announced on our Facebook page VERY SOON!

Spring & Summer 2014 Handbag Trends!

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There are so many exciting handbag trends for this season, I couldn’t possibly list them all, so instead I narrowed them down to the eight I saw and read about the most:

• Color Blocking
• Structured & Ladylike
• Stylish Backpacks
• Floral Prints
• Drawstring Bucket Bags
• Duffles
• Large Carryall Work Totes
• Faux Textures

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Our Evelyn satchel features color blocking, faux croc details, and has a structured shape, so you can’t go wrong with this one! Show here in teal, it comes in five other color combinations.

Another of our handbags that is perfectly on-trend is our black leather Brynn satchel. It has a classic ladylike shape and a bit of color blocking with its tan trim. This is one handbag that will never go out of style!

One of the most popular trends of the season is the backpack style, scaled down from your high school Jansport of course! Our Maverick comes in rugged brown leather, for that great worn-in look, and has pockets to stash everything you need, whether you are going on a date or a hike.

Our Timeless Floral shoulder bag also transcends the spring trends. It has gorgeous floral and faux croc details, and easily fits into the structured and ladylike category as well. Shown here in pink, find three more color combos on our website.

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Another buzzworthy style that was apparently all over the fashion runways is the bucket bag. Our Trinitee style fits the bill, with unique braiding throughout and a drawstring closure. Shown above in beige, it also comes in three more versatile colors.

Our leather Camden handbag has a cool convertible feature that makes it like two bags in one. It can be worn as a duffle-style bag or, simply by using a different strap, it can morph into a smaller top-handle bag. It comes in black and tan, so either color will fit easily into anyone’s wardrobe.

One of my personal favorite styles is our Ava Rettile crossbody, which I own in pink. It is made of snakeskin-embossed faux leather, and is the perfect size to take with you anywhere. Along with pink and lime (shown in pic), it also comes in the perfect color of orange, but if you need a neutral, brown and black are available as well.

Our large Gilla shoulder bag has more than enough room to be labeled a “carryall.” Ideal for the busy modern woman, along with ample space it has many pockets to stay organized. It’s one-of-a-kind styling is a bonus – it is constructed of soft faux leather and has plenty of silver-tone hardware, plus a neat cutout design in front. Other than the coffee color shown above, it also comes in black, taupe, and stone.

What are some of your favorite spring handbag trends? I’m sure there are about 20 other ones that I didn’t mention! Leave me comments, and visit our website for even more covetable styles!

7 of My Favorite Places to Shop for Bargains

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I have a confession to make: I am a bargain hunter, especially when it comes to fashion. I suspect a lot of us are, regardless of income level. And studies have shown that when shopping, we experience a release of dopamine — the “pleasure chemical” in our brains that enables us to recognize and seek out rewards — when we pay a lower price than expected for a desired item.

So where do you shop for the best dopamine rushes? I thought I would share my favorites first, in no particular order, along with a few reasons why each store or website is worth checking out. I hope you’ll comment and share a few of your faves, because not only do I love discovering new places to shop, but it will be interesting to see if we’re loving some of the same places!

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6pm (online only) – I felt like I’d stumbled upon a gold mine when I discovered ths site! It probably would not have happened had I not become completely obsessed with finding this wrap-style Vitamin A bikini top in my size at a decent price. I had actually bought it in the wrong size on eBay, then turned around and re-sold it. Then I kept looking for it, on eBay and elsewhere, but couldn’t seem to find it for less than $88.00. For a whole swimsuit that would’ve been fine, but it was way over my budget for just half a swimsuit. Then one day I googled it and decided to venture past the first couple of pages of results, and there it was, on a site called 6pm that I’d never heard of, for only $42.00 ($50 off retail!), and they had my size! I didn’t hesistate for even a split second (partly because they only had one in my size left in stock!) Then I spent the next several hours – no joke, I didn’t even sleep that night – exploring the rest of their wares, because they have so many of my favorite brands! Besides swimsuits from popular brands like Vitamin A, Roxy, and Luli Fama, they have jeans from 7 For All Mankind, Hudson, and Big Star; shoes from Steve Madden, Jessica Simpson, and Vince Camuto; and similarly impressive lists of brands covering every clothing and accessory category under the sun. The site is owned by Zappos, that cool shoe website, and is set up similarly, so you can narrow down your search fo exactly what you’re looking for (filters include brand, price range, color, material, style, and details). Another bonus? FREE shipping on everything, regardless of price!

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Nordstrom Rack (stores only — click HERE to find a store near you) – If you love designer jeans as much as I do, their selection can’t be beat. They’ve got 7 For All Mankind, MEK, Hudson, Joe’s, Big Star, and the rest of the best denim brands at 30-50% off what you’d pay elsewhere. Besides denim, they have Juicy Couture, Roxy, and Free People scattered throughout the store at similar savings. Their shoe section is a shoe lovers dream – I remember seeing these black leather studded cage-style Nine West heels in a magazine and wanted them so bad, but they were way out of my budget. Well, a few months later, I found them at “The Rack” at a price I could handle. Also, if you are looking to deck out your little one, check out their baby & children’s clothing and shoes, where you’ll find a lot of the same brands I just named at similar savings. Furthermore, they have a decent selection of high-end beauty products (like Kèrastese) at killer prices, and don’t leave without checking out their lingerie – if you want to sport Hanky Panky, DKNY, and Betsey Johnson but refuse to pay that much for a pair of panties, this is the place to go!

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Target (shop online, or click HERE to find a store near you) – I don’t think I have to take up too much space telling you why I love Tar-jay so much. Ever since I first started shopping there, they’ve always had cute clothing, shoes, and when summer rolls around, their swimsuit styles are the best around for the money (around $30 for a whole suit), and most bikinis come as separates, which I personally cannot do without. While they no longer house clothing from designer Isaac Mizrahi, they began regularly launching capsule collections from other big-name designers, such as Jason Wu and Missoni, several years ago, some of which have reportedly featured items that have sold out within hours in-store and online (cue frantically searching eBay…see below)! Also find cute jewelry and other accessories there at similar price point. Another thing I love, although they aren’t cheap for what they are, is they carry cards by the brand Papyrus – they look handmade, and for somebody special they’re definitely worth the extra couple dollars. I could go on and on, because they also have a great makeup collection – HUGE, plus, like with their clothing selection, a couple designer collaborations – a “dollar store” section, expensive-looking notecards with every design possible…if I have to go on, which probably means you’ve never been there (which means you either live in a very small town are under a rock), go, NOW!

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Plato’s Closet (stores only — click HERE to find a store near you) – If you don’t mind buying clothing and accessories that have (mostly) been pre-loved, definitely seek out your nearest Plato’s Closet! The store works like this: they buy and sell gently used junior girls and guys clothing from the most popular name brands, and in their buying strategy, they target current trends as well. That means that not only will you find the same styles that you’re currently seeing in the “regular” stores (no kidding, not only do I often find items that still have tags on them, but I once saw a pair of Miss Me brand jeans there that were currently being sold for full price at Macy’s – same exact bedazzled pocket design!), but you’ll also pay a fraction of retail. They curate their stores so tightly that many items appear brand-new, so nobody will have a clue that you didn’t buy them new, and since their inventory varies from day-to-day, you can literally go there every day and you’ll always find something new! Also, you can buy shorts in the winter and coats in the summer, because they have stuff for all seasons. If you are looking for a little bit of cash (or store credit), they also buy stuff, but make sure whatever you are trying to sell is something you wouldn’t hesitate to buy yourself, because they are very picky.

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eBay (online only) – To me, eBay is like a huge online mall that houses every store you could imagine, including stores that don’t even exist anymore! What I mean by that is, if you are looking for something that has sold out or been discontinued, keep looking and you just might get lucky because someone out there has what you want, and they might decide to sell it sooner or later. Each auction-style listing has a starting bid, a set “Buy it Now” price, or both. Some really great deals can be had with the auctions especially, because if there aren’t very many other people out there bidding on an item with a low starting bid, you won’t have to bid very high to win the auction! Once you create a free account, you can search the site and do things like “watch” things you are not quite ready to bid on (and separate these items into lists, like “Jeans” and “Christmas Gifts”), save your favorite sellers, and even keep tabs on your favorite searches. This is especially handy because, say you have been searching for something specific, like a pair of AG Ex-Boyfriend Crop jeans in 17 Years wash in a size 27 (this is a real-world example, as I own these jeans and bought them on eBay!), you can save the search “AG ex-boyfriend jeans 17 years 28” (and less words for more results, and vice versa). Change your settings to prompt the site to email you when items fitting your search criteria have been listed, and then all you have to do is keep an eye on your inbox! Since becoming an “eBayer” 15 years ago, I have never paid full price for designer jeans and cool cases for my phone (for about 75% off the $20-$30 they go for anywhere else). Just be careful of the sellers who try to sell items for MORE than they are worth – if you aren’t sure about an item’s retail value, google it and compare the prices first. Lastly, eBay is an excellent avenue to use to peddle your own wares and make some extra cash, and the site has made it super-easy to create a listing in minutes – when I first began selling, I had to teach myself basic HTML to pretty-up my listings. Not anymore!

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TJMaxx & Marshalls (shop online, or click HERE to find a TJMaxx near you, or HERE to find your nearest Marshall’s) – Out of all the brick-and-mortars that claim to be “discount stores,” I have always found the best selection at TJMaxx and their sister store, Marshalls. It’s the first place I go for cute brand-name baby and toddler clothes that I can actually afford, and their selection can’t be beat. They always have an awesome shoe department, with brands like Jessica Simpson and Steve Madden, so every time I go there I have to take about 10 pairs out of my basket before checking out. Also check out their housewares section (or find a Homegoods, part of their family of stores, which sadly only has physical locations – find the location closest to you by clicking HERE) for everyday and unique items for your crib, and try to catch their swimsuits selection early enough in the season, so you can find suits from Hurley, Roxy, and Guess, to name a few. Oh, and I cannot NOT mention their beauty department really quickly, because they stock Philosophy, OPI, Tigi, and wait around long enough and you’re bound to find your favorite fragrance there for about half price!

…and I saved the BEST for last!

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Donna Bella Designs (online only) – If you are in the market for a new handbag that is stylish, practical, and reasonably priced, look no further than Donna Bella Designs. Hands-down, they carry the BEST selection of styles and colors, and I’m not just saying that because this happens to be their blog – I have gone to their site for my last 3 purses, and I shop everywhere (if you can’t already tell). They are a locally-owned small business, and their focus, as you will see on the site (as it is just about all they carry), is bringing their unbeatable handbag collection to the masses. They’ve conveniently categorized their purses as either part of their “Fashion” or “Leather” collections, making it super-easy if you’re looking for something animal-friendly. They are also sorted by style (shoulder, crossbody, hobo, etc.), making zeroing in on the perfect purse even easier. Most of their designs come in a wide array of colors, and have features such as multiple pockets for organization and extra shoulder straps for versatility. They have impressive sale and clearance sections as well, and are constantly adding new styles. You will never go elsewhere for your arm candy, because this site is affordable luxury at its best! One last thing: follow them on Facebook and Twitter for monthly contests, where you can enter to WIN one of their chic handbags, among other prizes!

I hope I have clued you in to at least a couple new discount shops, and would love for you to comment below to let me know what you think, and to share a couple of YOUR go-to shopping destinations!

Another Big Thanks for the Awesome Blog!

Since we are nearing the end of our March contest and, if you need just a little extra boost to enter, I wanted to take a few minutes to shine the spotlight on SHANNON TRUAX, who won our contest for February, and so kindly blogged about her prizes, and about us! We definitely don’t require every contest winner to do this, so that’s why she’s such a sweetheart, and we’re so happy that she entered our “Sweetheart Package” contest last month…and WON! Read her blog at http://goluckyduck.wordpress.com, where she, along with her Lucky Duck, blogs about products, companies, and anything else that catches their eyes. So far, I have read about their shared affinity for costume jewelry from India, some good wine and snacks from our friends up North in Canada (I truly LOVE discovering new foods, and was so happy when my friend Jen introduced me to World Market!), and their lovely trip to Piano Bash, a live music venue and bar in Seattle suburb Bellevue, for the Zebra Club’s fashion show. At first I was a bit confused and was about to transpose the two businesses (like, say the Zebra Club was the venue hosting Piano Bash’s fashion show…let’s just say I’m glad I stopped and googled it!), but came to find out that the Zebra Club is actually a boutique that sells women’s and men’s clothing. Next time I am in the area…well, since I have actually never been to Washington, so it would be a first time rather than a next time, I just might stop by to check it out. They have a seemingly well-curated selection, carrying brands like Obey, Jeffrey Campbell shoes, and a bunch of Diesel stuff for both guys and gals.

Anyway, went off on a tangent there, but while you’re reading her Go Lucky Duck blog, be sure to check out Ms. Truax’s piece about Donna Bella Designs at http://goluckyduck.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/donna-bella-designs-offers-fantastic-products-and-a-fabulous-price-point/ — I am surely going to visit her blog more often, if only because she has a list a mile long of her published pieces (including one for Cosmopolitan magazine! I had to include a pic of it below!), and I enjoy reading and learning from great writers!

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And don’t forget to submit your entry for our Hot Mess March Makeover Contest. All you have to do is show us (with up to 3 pics) and tell us (in 100 words or less) why YOU are most deserving of a handbag “makeover” in the form of 1 of 3 (your choice!) BRAND NEW DONNA BELLA DESIGNS HANDBAGS, with a retail value of $60!

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We are even choosing a second prize winner, who will receive a coupon for 50% off any of the Fashion Bags on our site. That could be worth

There’s only a week left to enter, so ENTER NOW!!! CLICK HERE to go directly to the contest page on Facebook!

It was worth it to enter, right Shannon? And by the way, I am Shannyn too — I don’t meet very many Shannons or Shannyns (or Shanons, Shannens, Chanins…) anymore, even online! Oh, and I did have one more question for you. A bit random, but did you get your Lucky Duck on the Fun Bus to Wendover? Because I have one too that I won from winning a game of BINGO (well, a “crappiest BINGO card” variation of it…ask me if you don’t understand!) on the Le Bus to Utah’s version of Vegas. And I still have her.

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