Etsy Find Fridays: Lookin’ pretty in Tiffany Blue

There’s something about that iconic blue box from Tiffany that gets a lady’s heart all aflutter. Do I think it’s completely ludicrous to pay hundreds of dollars for a tiny silver necklace with a bow? Yes. Yes, I do. But will I gladly pay it simply for the exquisite experience of owning something from Tiffany? Right again.

Well, okay — I actually bought the aforementioned necklace for my sister as a college graduation gift. What I bought for me was this ring from the store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and yes I just totally name-dropped Rodeo Drive. I feel like being fancy today. I wear that ring on my middle finger every single day and, gradually, it’s become my “signature piece.” I have no idea if my friends still wear theirs daily, but it’s an item of jewelry that’s just an integral part of my everyday life.

Not one to splurge on unnecessary purchases unless, you know, I have to have them, I haven’t found a Tiffany blue box in my hot little hands for some time now. That’s not to say I can’t still see that pretty blue everywhere, though . . . and I do, actually. Especially on Etsy, where creative artisans weave the hue into everything from purses to flowers to wedding invitations.

If you’re feelin’ classy and want a little Tiffany in your life — without the enormous price tag — see a few of my favorite items this week. (Hover over each photo for a caption, then click to view the seller’s item on Etsy.)

Books as purses — the latest way to feed my literary obsession

Please allow me another moment to harp on how much I love my boyfriend (I know, I know — insert the groans and rolling eyes here). In addition to being sweet, smart, funny and considerate, Spencer actually listens to me. And notices things — then remembers them.

Based on my previous track record, this is nothing short of a miracle.

Walking around Eastern Market in Washington, D.C., last month, I noticed a young woman selling clutches. Her stand was nicely appointed and featured bags in a variety of shapes, colors and textures — all made out of old books.

Being the bookish chick y’all know and love, I spent a good, long while looking at the purses. Totally adorable but not entirely practical, I enjoyed checking out the bags and chatting with the nice lady who made them. Much as I liked them, I couldn’t justify shelling out $50-$70 on a clutch I would probably rarely use — and really just wanted to look at.

So Spencer was buzzing with excitement the other night, producing a tall blue bag. Days from my actual birthday, I gave him a quizzical look. He told me it was an early birthday present and I should go ahead and open it.

In it? Book clutches!

His mother is a master quilter — very, very talented — and, together, they developed a prototype of sorts for the book bags I’d seen downtown. Mrs. J found the hardcovers to use and then carefully removed the old pages within, replacing them with quilted bags she’d made. They were shipped to me from New York.

And now? Well, I use the old books to carry my books. The larger, black hardcover bag is the perfect size for carrying my hardcovers (imagine!). And the smaller one is the perfect size for tossing in a few small items en route to a bookish event. I have a feeling they’ll be making an appearance at the next literary event I attend.

I’d convince Mrs. J to start a business and shop these little babies on Etsy, but I know how time-consuming they are to create. The competition is fierce (and pricey!), but I think she’s on to something here!

Packing for London: The cross body experience

london_bridge2So I’m deep in the throes of planning my trip to London next month — and by that, I mean I’ve been Googling tons of places, printing out info sheets and Facebooking my friend Stacy regarding trip plans! I’m visiting her for a long weekend over Memorial Day, and she will be kind enough to escort me around the city and generally be an awesome friend! I’m so excited and nervous, I feel like I’ve swallowed a huge bag of Pop Rocks every time I think it!

And I’m thinking a lot. Obviously I need to iron down what it is I hope to see while I’m there — it’s going to be a whirlwind! I have three full days and then a half day in the city, and I want to hit all the highlights — basically everything I missed when I went the first time. Hyde Park is on the list, as is King’s Cross Station of Harry Potter fame. I want to hang out in Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, and I’d love to make it back to Buckingham Palace! Mostly I want to wander around, take as many photos as possible, talk to Stacy and just be in London.

And being in London is going to require a certain . . . wardrobe. Now, by absolutely no stretch would I consider myself a “fashionista” — I do all right and don’t usually get made fun of for my clothing choices in public, but I’m definitely not as “fashion-forward” as some folks. Definitely not as fashion-forward as Stacy. So one of the biggest dilemmas I’m facing at the moment is all about . . . my wardrobe.

I know. I’m dreading this. I’m really, truly afraid of my clothes sometimes. What I have is fine for my good ol’ American stops at Target or Kohl’s, going out to dinner or spending a day in the office. But hanging out in London, one of the world’s most fashionable cities? Uh, no.

My next dilemma? My anxiety over traveling abroad — and getting my purse stolen. Seriously, the last time I was in Europe, I carried around a really itsy-bitsy woven bag that stayed permanently glued underneath my arm. My passport, money and credit cards were in a leather organizer that hung from my neck — and was tucked into my shirt. We heard so many warnings about pick-pockets in Italy, we were terrified to have anything . . . exposed. And, sure enough, we managed to get back home without anyone stealing from us! WIN!

But this time? Stacy will be with me. And I’m not so sure Stylish Stacy will approve of my bulky leather neck organizer thing . . . and I’m not so convinced I won’t look like an idiot wearing it! But I don’t want to just throw on a random, casual shoulder bag. I’m not confident enough to carry all important documentation and the money to my name in something that a random person on the street could snatch right off my shoulder. Hi, Mom and Dad? Yeah, I’m at the U.S. Embassy. I have no ID, no money and no idea how I’m getting home. Could you, like, save me or something?

Today I found my solution: the cross body bag. You stick all that important stuff in there, slip it over your shoulder and run down to Kensington Palace. Perfect! So I started Googling around, perusing the endless online retailers who tout “cross body purses” on their sites. Of course, there are a million to choose from . . . and you can pay pretty much any price you want.

My only problem?

They’re ugly. Like, ugly. Completely unattractive, I-would-never-wear-this-in-the-States ugly. And my problem of not looking like a total goob in England resurfaces! I don’t want to embarrass my friend with my poor fashion choices . . . but I still need to stay organized and have all my stuff secure!

After my extensive and rigorous research, I’m left with a few options . . . and I’m still not completely sold on these, though they’re the best of the worst, in my opinion. Oy.

ELLE cross-body handbag in black,, $24

ELLE cross-body handbag in black,, $24

Tignanello Pebble Leather Crossbody Organizer Bag in hot pink,, $52.80

Tignanello Pebble Leather Crossbody Organizer Bag in hot pink,, $52.80

Kathy Van Zeeland Travelware KVZ Cross Body Organizer in peacock,, $39.99

Kathy Van Zeeland Travelware KVZ Cross Body Organizer in peacock,, $39.99

Sharif Adjustable Strap Organizer with Printed Trim,, $54.90

Sharif Adjustable Strap Organizer with Printed Trim,, $54.90

Tignanello Pebble Leather Crossbody Organizer in bone,, $54.48

Tignanello Pebble Leather Crossbody Organizer in bone,, $54.48

I’m leaning toward the pink Tignanello . . . mostly because, well, it’s pink (that’s reason enough for me to buy most things) and it has roomy pockets and a place for credit cards and cash (on the inside, closest to my body). One of those front pockets will easily fit my camera, too, and the style isn’t completely hideous. I think I could work it. Or at least try to work it! I haven’t written off the other styles, though, and the hunt continues.

Always with the Dooneys

crisp_dooneySo Dooney & Bourke is trying to get me again — they’ve unveiled a new line of handbags! I wasn’t crazy about their Shadow DB line from last year, but the new Crisp Anniversary line is gorgeous. I love the brown and cream combination! I really, really want a brown Dooney — I could easily wear it with many outfits to work; it’s a neutral, so it matches many of my “weekend” clothes; it’s classy but not stuffy; it’s . . . beautiful!

Of course, I absolutely have to behave myself . . . even in light of the fact that my favorite style of Dooney, pictured at right, also comes in a fuchsia combination. Fuchsia! Pink! God, I love pink. But I already have a pink Dooney — and between all the stuff I’m buying on Etsy (but not selling — how sad!) and the state of the economy, I’m going to officially sit on my hands now. But if you’re looking for some eye candy before the weekend sets in, check out the new line of handbags here.

The ‘Big Girl’ Bags


I have a problem — a very big Dooney problem! I’m completely obsessed with these bags, as I’ve detailed before. They’re fun, classy and . . . expensive. Not ridiculous or extravagantly so, but still not really cheap. Of course it’s all about the quality and I know I’ll have them for a hundred and one years — or until I’m sick of them, which will probably never happen — but I can’t just that to justify spending the money in the “current economy.”

How many times a day do we listen to diatribes on the economy? I listen to quite a few, not to mention all articles that pop up in my e-mail and on my favorite blogs and websites daily. It gets pretty disturbing to read about the “fall out,” which just reminds me of an OAR song I like called, aptly, “The Fall Out.”

But once again, I digress. Here are my three Dooney & Bourke bags, with the left-most signature fabric bag being my most recent addition: a Christmas gift from my parents.


They’re just fun! They make my stomach do a little happy flip when I look at them. Of course I rarely seem to actually carry them out in public, but I love to smooth my little fingers over their pretty surfaces! And the bright pink, rope-patterned bag has a special place in my heart: I bought it for myself with one of my first “major” paychecks from my post-college, full-time job.

It’s my Big Girl Bag.

We all have our Target satchels and freebie totes we use to lug stuff back and forth from school or work. We have our old leather hobos that we picked out a solid ten years ago, and we throw our wallets in there and run. They’re no frills — purely functional. We don’t have to worry if we drop them in the dirt accidentally or a pen explodes in the pocket or we get caught in a rainstorm unexpectedly. They’ve been through it all — they’ll be fine.

But Dooney bags are fragile. Not fragile as in you can’t actually sling them over your shoulder, but “fragile” in that you have to take care of them — not bend their handles all up or throw them on the couch haphazardly. And wearing a Dooney (or Chanel, or Louis Vuitton, or Vera Wang . . . whatever is your handbag drug of choice) makes me feel empowered and grown-up. If I need a purse to make me realize I’m an adult, I guess that’s a bad sign, but there’s just something about the feel of an expensive handbag that makes me happy. I’m not a shoe girl or a serious clothes horse, but I need my purses!

And I can’t wait to carry my new one come spring! Another reason to look forward to the end of a cold, rainy winter!

Purses, beautiful purses . . .

Fridays are dangerous. And times you have Internet access (and a credit card) on Fridays are incredibly dangerous! And times we’re in an economic slump and you really should be watching your expenditures and not blowing them on Aldo purses are extremely

Okay, you follow.

Better go get lunch before I get myself in massive trouble.

Quilted class

I absolutely love this quilted pink purse — it’s by Maxx New York (if it matters). The dome shape is super classy and stylish — and since I would have to carry it on my arm, I think that probably makes it even classier! I’m also a fan of the “pop blue,” but I would have to get the pink. Even if it required me to buy an entirely new outfit just to match it.

Looking at purses on QVC is pretty much an addiction for me — plain and simple. When I find myself with five, ten or fifty minutes to kill, that’s usually where I’m going. I’m a huge fan of “easy pay” and the like — buy it now, pay for it over a period of months. Thankfully I’ve been keeping myself from making a purchase that would actually require me to pay for it over a period of months, but that day will probably come eventually. I haven’t ordered one in forever . . . and I’m compensating for that by my constant monitoring of the new arrivals! Hey, in the tight economy we’re all facing, I think it’s back to merely window-shopping (or webpage-surfing) for a while.