Hmmm… you might wonder what on earth a handbag post is doing on this blog. Well I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am a bit of a bag addict. Not just handbags and purses but also suitcases and carry-ons. I am constantly in search of the perfect bag be it for a long haul journey or just mooching around on the weekend. If you don’t believe me, ask Mr Neil who is quite often found in our basement brandishing older suitcases and telling me “Since you bought a new one, you need to take one to Goodwill” (which we do). But you know, you can never seem to find the right bag for the occasion. Case in point which can be confirmed by our friend Cathy who, when she travels with us in France each summer, can almost guarantee that there will be some sort of emergency dash to the hypermarché to buy – yet another- carry on (mostly this is for all the wine Neil buys, I swear!). This past summer she jokingly said “What’s the betting we’ll be buying another case next year?” – well hopefully after a number of trips to French wine country we’ll actually better predict how many extra bags we need and bring them with us.
So suitcases are one thing but even more challenging is getting the perfect bag for everyday. I’m not one of those people who likes to change purses/ handbags every day (though, ahem, I could!) therefore it’s important to me that a bag is big enough to carry everything I need but not so big that it carries EVERYTHING (I have one of those and it kills my shoulder). Which is why when I was contacted by the folks at Grace Adele about a new (to me) line of accessories, including handbags that can give you “a personalized look and effortless style in five easy steps” I was very interested to check them out. Heidi Thompson, President and co-owner, Scentsy, Inc., the company behind the Grace Adele brand says that the idea of the Style System is to make style fuss-free (always a good thing in my book!)
The System allows the user to create a unique designer look using mix-and-match accessories organized around colour. The style system guides women through five steps to customize and coordinate their fashion accessories: 1) Pick My Colour 2) Choose My Bag 3) Add My Clutch 4) Style My Bag, by adding clip-ons and accessories and 5) Style Me, which finishes the look with coordinating scarves and jewelry. Each handbag (from $96 to $240) features a pocket on the outside designed to display a coordinating clutch ($48 to $120), which gives the bag a new look and also a little extra pocket for those “need to get my hands on them quickly” items.
When I was checking out the website, I was especially impressed with the idea of the Intelligent Interior™ – a system to keep the bag neatly organized with inside pockets for all your items including a wallet, makeup bag, and notebook, as well as space for a cell phone and keys. This, for me, sounded like a great idea. I am ALWAYS scrambling around for stuff at the bottom of my bag (aren’t you?).
The fall collection includes a selection of premium leather bags and clutches available in four great colours as well as high-quality, faux-leather bags and clutches available in seven colours. There is a lovely purple and a bright red (the one I received) – nice and bright for those dull months to come.
The next thing I looked at was where to buy these great sounding bags – well, Grace Adele is owned by Scentsy, Inc., a rapidly-growing, international party plan company whose aim it to offer a unique personalized shopping experience. Their products are sold through a network of Independent Consultants running home-based businesses in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Canada. To locate a consultant in your area please visit the “Find a Consultant” page. Whilst I am not a “party plan” shopper usually, I can see the value in this type of party because there are simply so many options for mixing and matching that you really need to see it and try it for yourself. Hard to do that online.
Well I loved the colour of this bag. Rich red. Great for everyday but also looks smart enough to take out at night (if a little large for a fancy event but it would do in a pinch). The size was perfect – it easily fit an umbrella, a small water bottle, my purse, my phone, my point and shoot camera and my iPad. A great bag to take to a conference, I’d say. Also, sans iPad, a great everyday bag – fits lots of necessities in there without being too bulky. It’s also lovely and soft and featured a zip closure across the top which brings me to what I think I will enjoy using it for the most – a travel “fancy bag”.
You know when you travel you’re always trying to fit too much stuff into your carry on and since a purse sometimes doesn’t cut it when you are counting carry on luggage items (it’s too small to be of use), if you are like me, you quite often end up ditching a pretty handbag for an ugly but practical backpack. Well, inside that ugly but practical backpack, I know that I will be packing my red Cora bag on my next trip. Because it can fit so much stuff in it, it’s perfect for travel once you arrive at your destination. And it’s also fancy enough to take to a nicer restaurant. But also great for everyday. It’s practical without making you look like a tourist – just looks like a regular handbag but could easily fit in a guide book, and all your essentials (zipped up, most important when you are travelling) without weighing you down too much. The Intelligent Interior™ system really does help you keep things organised in there and the two outside pockets, one with zipper closure) are extremely useful for keeping things you really need on hand close, like transit tickets, maps etc… Stylish and practical, the Cora bag will definitely be doing a little bit of travel in her lifetime!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary Grace Adele “Cora” handbag. I was not required to post about this and have not received further compensation for doing so. All opinions are my own.
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