Tag Archives: fashion

My new addiction….south-western style purses from COWGIRL BLING WESTERN BOUTIQUE!

Several weeks ago, I started seeing posts on Facebook from a Texas-based boutique featuring stunning (and very affordable) purses, totes and fashion accessories featuring hand-tooled leathers, fringes and the most exquisite south-western Native American woven fabric designs.  I watched online as business owner Hannah Leib presented her own QVC-like live showcase of a variety of purses and totes…and I was hooked! RaeHaving grown up with horses & ponies in Western Australia (at least that was as western as I could get as a kid), I’ve always wanted to be a cowgirl and each year when I visit Arizona, I get pretty close to my dream. Now, thanks to some inspired purchases from Cowgirl Bling Western Boutique, I can live the Annie Oakley life here in downtown Toronto via my fashion accessories.

I recently spoke with Hannah and asked her to share her story….

Congratulations on your new website, CowgirlBlingWestern.com, where anyone who loves south-western style can find gorgeous purses, totes, wallets and accessories. What inspired you to launch this fashion business?  Thank you! I was recruited to join the Cowgirl Bling Western Boutique a little over a month ago. The whole thing was brought about by happy circumstances, and I was just lucky enough to have met the right people and be available at the right time! The business has been exclusively an online boutique with sales being conducted through Facebook lives. We decided that a positive shift for the business would be to offer a website where customers could shop at their leisure or review a product that had been shown on the Facebook live. Wrangler Photo Shoot (2)How do you find and choose the purses you carry? Are they all American designed and made?  Cowgirl Bling Western Boutique has carried a variety of products, but we are currently focusing on western designed purses, wallets, clutches, etc. that are produced by the company, American Darling. Western fashion dates back to the early settlers who explored the southwestern United States. While we have modernized western elements, we are committed to providing high quality and affordable pieces all across North America.HarlowShimmerCodi WalletI understand you were a Rodeo Queen – for which State and what were your official duties?  I was honored to represent the Evergreen State as Miss Rodeo Washington 2019. State titleholders travel around the country and within their state to help educate the public and promote the sport of rodeo and western industries. When schools were in session it was not uncommon to have a presentation from a local titleholder, see a friendly queen doing a hospital visit, or greeting guests at westerns events. As a rodeo queen we wear many hats so to speak, but my favorite way to combine my passion for education and my love for rodeo was through my platform: #HatsAndHearts – Promoting Rodeo and Agriculture One Hat and One Heart at a Time. I was able to cultivate educational presentations, videos, and connections during my year as Miss Rodeo Washington that I took with me to the Miss Rodeo America stage last December in Las Vegas, NV. It was an honor to walk away as 1st Runner Up and open a new chapter in my life.MRW 19.Has that rodeo royalty honor inspired or heightened your fashion sense and your new business?   Oh my gosh, my style has totally changed! I never wore styles that were “out of the box” before, but that is all a thing of the past now. My favorite part about western fashion is that you really can’t make a mistake. There is so much texture in the patterns, products, and styles which offer more variety in the day to day that you simply cannot get from other fashion genres.KaylaTell us about your horses?  And have you sought out matching bags and saddle blankets for your customers?  I have three horses: Willis, Tater, and Moose. They are all different colors, sizes, and they all have different jobs however each horse’s personality is very distinct. I like to pick out a color that best suits a horse’s color and attitude, and it’s easy for that to carryover to helping my customers. Being able to help find products that best bring out their personal style and attitude is really the biggest perk! MRW 19You’re located in Texas – can Canadians purchase your bags and accessories? Absolutely! We’re able to ship internationally and our website offers shipping options so that customers from all over can choose their preferred shipping method.at the post office (2)Do you plan on expanding the brand, adding more items to the catalogue?  We’re definitely planning to expand the product selection! Our big focus in the coming months is to find unique western jewelry and fun graphic tees. We are open to suggestions and mainly want to provide the best customer experience we can!turquoise earringsHow can people follow you on social media?  The best way to see what’s new is to follow our Facebook page (Cowgirl Bling Western Boutique) and to follow us on Instagram. If you want to see what items we currently have in stock and ready to ship today just visit: www.cowgirlblingwestern.com

Thanks, Hannah, and I hope all my fashionista friends visit your website and find their own fabulous cowgirl bling!  This past week I purchased a few more items as Christmas pressies for friends and family and my own latest prized purse from Cowgirl Bling Western Boutique is this stunning orange design (below) which is perfect for brightening up a grey Toronto winter’s day.
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MONTREAL JEWELLERY DESIGNER GLORIA BASS BRINGS STUNNING COLLECTION TO TORONTO POP-UP BOUTIQUE

The other day I received this invitation (below) via email and being located only a few blocks from my home, I decided to visit the pop-up shop in Yorkville and meet fine jewellery designer Gloria Bass. I’m sooooo glad I did!gloria-bass pop upJust extended for one more day, the pop-up is located on the West side of Bellair just past Sassafraz, in the Ritchie Estate Jewellery store at #24, the walls are lined with display cases filled with Gloria’s exquisite jewellery. My photographs don’t do the “wearable art” justice so I borrowed a couple of shots from her website (linked at end of story) – I encourage you to visit online for descriptions of each unique piece, handcrafted with the finest gems and metals (18ct gold) and South Sea pearls of varying sizes and colours. Gloria’s signature filigree gold wire accents and clasps are intricately woven into each piece.20160515_133740 20160515_133746 20160515_133755collection-gloria-titillium_15For over forty years, Ms. Bass has channeled her passion for design and her skills as a goldsmith, to steadily build the reputation of Gloria Bass Design. As the soul of the company, her sensibility can be found in every Gloria Bass Design creation.20160515_133905(0)Based in Montreal, Gloria (above Right, with her charming assistant Marie-Josee, above Left) and her team of highly skilled assistants and craftsmen continue to serve an international clientele. The pieces of jewelry produced in her workshop are the outcome of her curiosity, creative talent and thought. They evoke sensuality and elegance.  The unique Gloria Bass Design style is easily recognized in each stunningly beautiful and quality-made piece of jewelry. The world’s most voluptuous pearls and breathtaking gems are combined with distinctive goldsmithing techniques to become wearable, and at the same time, extremely comfortable pieces of art. Insistence on precision and detail, and the use of the finest materials, ensures superior quality.s-rThe exhibition and sale has been so popular that Gloria is extending the pop-up for another day (Monday May 16) before returning to Montreal, so if you’re in Toronto, please make sure you drop in anytime tomorrow between 10am and 7pm to see the magnificent statement necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings and men’s cufflinks. 24 Bellair in Yorkville….and be sure to tell Gloria and Marie-Josee I sent you.      www.gloriabassdesign.com/

 

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GOATS AND HORSIES AND MODELS, OH MY!

Several weeks ago, my friends Carcia and Telly Campbell of ItsMusicFashionLife.com web-magazine asked me to suggest a rustic, farm location for their upcoming fashion shoot and without missing a beat, I suggested the new Haute Goat farm in Newtonville, just ouside of Port Hope. So yesterday, we packed the clothes, accessories and photographer/creative director Aleyah Solomon (co-founder of the brand new HereandThere magazine) into the car and headed east through the the glorious fall colours to meet the models, and the goats and horses owned by Debbie and Shain of hautegoat.com20151017_111333 20151017_111241As soon as we pulled into the farm driveway, we realized the shoot would be stunning – the farm house was perched high overlooking the rolling hills and woodlands around Clarington County (see below).20151017_121311 20151017_132815We were soon joined by gorgeous models Tara and Taylor, along with make-up and hairstylist Alexandre and photo assistant Candace….and set to work rounding up the 4-legged livestock  who turned out to be fabulous models, too.20151017_134930 20151017_135046 20151017_121618The wee goats (above) were such hams! Many tried to pull focus from Tara’s posing…bleating and bah’ing making us all laugh so hard.  When Taylor came out in his winter fashions (below), the goats fell in love with him, following him around, nuzzling and begging his attention. We now call him the “goat whisperer”!20151017_150532 20151017_150640 20151017_145955Above, Aleyah was laughing so hard at the goats swarming Taylor sometimes it was difficult to shoot. Debbie (the goat mum) joined in the hilarity. Carcia (below with Taylor) enjoyed a cuddle with one of the baby goats while sister Telly (centre, 2nd pic) quickly snapped shots between pats.20151017_150721 20151017_150749Carcia’s and Telly’s bestest selfie ever!20151017_150238

20151017_150804…and above, Eden, one of the wranglers at Haute Goat, posed with one of our favourite goats, Yoda, as the models went inside to change for their next look. Below, Jack the farm’s guard dog got into the modelling act, too, and loved Aleyah’s impromptu ukulele concert on the lawn!20151017_135738 20151017_135806Next, it was time to cowboy-up. Tara and Taylor got their city-meets-country looks on and Shain and Debbie’s Icelandic horses got into the act, too.20151017_155315 20151017_155634 20151017_155653Alexandre and Taylor had fun taking horsie selfies!20151017_155007And I had quite the “Legends of the Fall” moment snapping this shot of Taylor (below) who looked so like Brad Pitt as “Tristan” dontcha think?20151017_160205I was thrilled to be invited on an ATV ride through the woods behind the farm while more photos were being taken so I jumped at that opportunity…have you ever tried taking photos while riding on an ATV? Naaah, too shaky, but when I got back to the farmhouse, I relaxed in the huge kitchen and snapped a few pics of the decor as well as the awesome goats milk treats Haute Goat produces and sells: soaps, body creams, lip balm, caramel corn, fudge….you can guess what came home with me!20151017_143337 20151017_162821 20151017_162847 20151017_162851 20151017_162857 20151017_162902None of us wanted to leave the Haute Goat farm last night but the big city lights beckoned us home.  Here are a few more parting shots of the lovely farm and wee beasties.20151017_150055 20151017_181851 20151017_142200

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20151017_121610 20151017_150259Don’t forget to check out ItsMusicFashionLife.com for the upcoming photo essay, as well as HauteGoat.com for more product info and sales of their handcrafted skin care and edible treats, esp. now you’ve met the goat workers who make it all!

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I VISIT PLAYDEAD CULT BOUTIQUE & GALLERY in TORONTO

One of us…one of us! I LOVE all things Playdead Cult – fashion, furniture, art – all done by artist & musician Stu Andrenelli who I’ve known for many years since buying one of his original paintings right off the wall of the old Shanghai Cowgirl diner on Queen Street W back when the neighbourhood was still groovy and the hipsters were still….well, hip.

20150401_140001_001 20150401_140024Since then, I’ve added numerous pieces to my collection of original edgy art and watched Playdead Cult grow from a niche fashion and art boutique into a thriving design business, bringing a real sense of edgy cool to Toronto’s indie culture.  Stu (pictured below) is also an accomplished musician – he’s the drummer of Toronto alt. rock band A Primitive Evolution (A.P.E.).

20150401_144655Playdead Cult was originally headquartered in a vintage auto body shop near Queen & Dufferin where Stu and then-partner Bean created art and fashion designs using the Playdead Cult logo/brand as the key element.  Playdead then moved into a Kensington Market store where they built a loyal following among the artsy-fartsy market set, as well as attracting numerous recording artists and TV personalities such as George Stroumboulopoulos who is frequently seen sporting a Playdead Cult t-shirt.

20150401_140044Last year, Stu decided to bring Playdead Cult back to Queen West and found a great (and much larger) store at 1696 Queen West, just East of Roncesvalles, and after a grand opening party, has steadily been building an even more fascinating, engaging and intriguing identity….as soon as I walked in today I felt at home in this playful pandora’s box of a store/gallery surrounded by a riot of art, clothing, re-purposed furniture, toys, nic-nacs and even customized guitars. Check it out…..

20150401_140036 20150401_140219 20150401_140227_001 20150401_142628_002 20150401_141335 20150401_141357 20150401_141432One of my favourite art groupings are these insane customized Playdead Barbie heads (below)  – d’you remember back in the80’s when little girls would style Barbie’s hair on these things? Yikes.

20150401_141249_001Speaking of hair do’s….Playdead Cult also has a very comfortable vintage shampoo chair and cut’n’style work station on-site  (below) for any last minute ‘dos, too.

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20150401_140207Stu has recently designed and decorated a local hair salon and diner so he’s now set to give Colin & Justin a run for their decorating dollars!!

Playdead Cult offers so many unique art pieces – great furnishings for your loft, condo or mum’s basement! Look at this sexy coffee table (below) which started out life as a old fashioned luggage trolley – Stu refinished and polished it up and made it into something a little less “in yer face” for the more conservative buyer. The skulls and stripes kerchief makes a great doily, dontcha think?

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20150401_141754_001I just had to pick up one of Stu’s miniatures (pictured below) to add to my collection – it’s the middle heart & skulls on the bottom row, and it’s now hanging happily on my wall at home.

20150401_140032Big thank you to Stu and his colleague, Brett (pictured below L to R) who showed me around the new store. I suggest you allow yourself at least an hour to go thru all the shelves, looking at every little treasure in every nook and cranny. Check every inch of wall space for the unusual original artwork and definitely go thru the clothing racks

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Playdead Cult Boutique & Gallery

Clothing, art and events for the black collar worker!

1696 Queen St West

https://www.playdeadcult.com

https://www.facebook.com/playdeadcult