LA Swapaholics

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A couple of weeks ago I attended an awesomely fun event, LA Swapaholics Anonymous! Organized by some wonderful plus size beauty bloggers and stylists based in Los Angeles, the event was an opportunity to shop with out spending money and help other women in need.  I brought two bags of clothes and accessories from my closet and received shopping points for their value. With those points I could shop hundreds of pieces that others had donated.

I wasn’t sure what I’d find but I went on a hunt for prints, bohemian, global inspired pieces and I came home with two huge bags full of new items for my wardrobe, without spending a dime! All the items that weren’t swapped were donated to Dress for Success Worldwide – West, assisting women in our community.

This outfit is one of so many that I picked up at the event. I love how it’s romantic and soft but still worldly and bohemian.  It proved I can shop globally, right in my own backyard! Can’t wait to go treasure hunting at the next Swap!

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{ Romper/Blouse/ LASwapaholics, Shoes / AMI Club Wear, Headwrap / Thrifted, Earrings/ Macy’s, Bracelets/ From India }

What I Bought In Ensenada

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For many, Ensenada is town to get crazy in, drink a few cervezas (or 12), let your hair down and act a fool. I recently stopped in Ensenada on friend’s birthday cruise and while we were there to party, I am always on the hunt for interesting and unique items.

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The main street of Calle Lopez Mateos is chock full of tiny cafes, street vendors and small shops.  It’s short enough that you can stroll one side, browse the wares and come back to something you fell in love with, without having to go very far.

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These little masks are made from coconut husks, hand painted and decorated.

While some of the street vendors and shops are selling items that are traditionally Mexican,  like hand tooled leather bags, turquoise and silver jewelry and sandals, many are selling tourist junk. Jewelry and handbags from China, sarongs from Indonesia, etc. The more places I travel, I am noticing this is becoming a common trend and it breaks my heart.

As we walked down the street, a colorful window, full of dancing Day of the Dead couples and metallic skull banners caught my eye and I had to stop. Little did I know I had discovered the most amazing, two story shop, selling handmade art and wares from all over Mexico. Jackpot!!

Bazar Casa Ramirez, carries all handmade products crafted from the hands of Mexican artists. Different states and regional influences are found in the art dotting the walls, the dishes on the shelves and the bags hanging on the racks. This store is a feast for the eyes and the soul.

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store shots

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I was immediately drawn to these hearts, handmade in Michoacan. I loved the color and decorative metal pieces. It was explained to me that all the metal pieces are “Milagros” or miracles, used by the grateful to offer thanks for prayers answered. There are symbols representing fertility, health, happiness, safety, and you can rub the one you are in need of as you say your prayers. Being a person who lives in gratitude this piece really connected with me so I purchased it.

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I also loved these small straw bucket bags, which are made locally in Ensenada. It’s the perfect size to fit your essentials for traveling or a Summer music festival and I love the pop of color. I may change the strap to a longer one so I can wear it cross body.

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I fell in love with the coconut masks we passed on the street and they had a few in this shop as well. I’m a fire sign and a collector of masks so this little “Fire God” caught my attention and held it. He came home with me too!

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The last items I bought were these tin Day of the Dead ornaments, from Oaxaca, to add to my travel inspired Christmas tree next year.

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I bought all of these beautiful handmade items for less than $50 and couldn’t be happier with my treasures!  Bazar Casa Ramirez is located at Calle Lopez Mateos 498-3, Edificio Ramirez, Ensenada, Baja California. They don’t have a website, so you’re just gonna have to get there in person! I promise, it’s worth the trip!

My Kinda Geometry

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This dress is a whole lot of pattern and color.  It keeps your eye on the move, with the tribal inspired patterns and shapes. I added triangle earrings, bracelets with detailed shapes and a necklace with its own unique pattern. This is my kinda geometry, without a protractor in sight.

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{Dress/Marshall’s, Shoes/Ross, Belt/Target, Necklace/Forever 21, Earrings/Claire’s, Bracelets/Made in Mali}

A Melodic, Thrifty & Chic Chick

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As I’ve embarked on this blogging journey, I have met through the internet, some pretty cool people. Today, I want you to meet one of them.

Anna, the author and fashion blogger of Melodic, Thrifty and Chic, is a vibrant spirit whom I’ve grown fond of over the last two years.  We have very different styles but we share a common bond of being true to our individual fashion sense and I find her creativity with fashion inspiring.

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Anna puts onions to shame with how well she has mastered layering. She has a way of marrying a detailed collared shirt with a chunky, vintage sweater and bold coat, like a perfectly layered cake. She flaunts her layering prowess with her legs as well, dressing them up in playful tights, knee-high socks and array of boots and Oxfords.

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A lover of Houndstooth, polka dots, florals and plaid, she sprinkles in dainty prints and textures in an unexpected way that keep me coming back to her blog to check out her ensembles.  She is a funny, smart chick, not afraid to share her love of eccentric graphic tees and the joy of knocking down a few brewskies, all the while wearing feminine crochet necklines, fun hats and whimsical necklaces.

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4451482_orig[1]8370598[1]I love her quirkiness and how she honors her femininity in each outfit she puts together, but what made me fall in love with Anna is when she did this!

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I was awestruck when she unleashed this side of herself. The people in her town may have felt like she just landed from another planet, but all I wanted to know is where was her planet and how soon can I visit!  Anna will periodically get a little grittier with her look, pairing leathers, black, cosmic prints, spiked accessories and ridiculously cool glasses into a fashion masterpiece that embodies her strength.  These looks are so inspiring to me for the utter confidence she is throwing down.

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Anna has been a supportive reader of my blog and I appreciate that so much. I personally follow blogs that are different from mine. I thrive on the creativity and self-expression of others.  If you enjoy reading a fashion blog that keeps you on your toes, I highly suggest following Anna’s fashion journey on http://www.melodicthriftychic.com. You can also click her link in my blogroll.

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California Layers

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Dressing for a California winter can be tricky. It can be 80 degrees one day and raining the next. I am by no means complaining just explaining what would otherwise be an odd outfit of layers on top and bare legs on the bottom.

These are my California Layers.

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{Suzanne Somers 3 Way Poncho/Gifted, Dress/Belt/Target, Vest/Earrings/Santee Alley, Shoes/Matisse Footwear from Marshall’s, Bag/Thrifted, Bangles/Bought in India}

What I Bought In Cozumel – Part 2

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On a much needed getaway last month I made a stop in Cozumel and though I hadn’t planned on doing much shopping, I couldn’t resist a few colorful items and wanted to share with you what I picked up.

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In my previous post on shopping in Cozumel, I talked about the Carnival cruise port and the great deals to be had there. On my last trip here I purchased some cowboy boots from Rogers Boots, which I will admit, I haven’t worn yet. They really are not a staple of my wardrobe but I do hope to take them out for spin this year. I had no intention of buying more boots but I stopped in Rogers Boots just to check it out and they had new snakeskin loafers. They had four different colors and I of course chose the brightest pair they had. I confirmed that the entire snake is used and not just killed for the skin. They ran about $80, which is pricey, especially for me, but I will definitely get more use out of this style and have already worn them multiple times.

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I had hoped to pick up a new beach bag at the shops in the port. I’ve bought quite a few here before but they were out of the large size I was looking for. I still managed to find a smaller handbag, which will be a great pop of color in Spring and Summer as well as two colorful woven backpacks that will make for easy, collapsible travel bags.

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There were lots of small gifts available from musical instruments to dream catchers to blankets but I passed those up in search of some traditional Mexican tops and dresses.

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I headed over to Cinco Soles which is in the port shopping area and specializes in products handmade in Mexico. They did have some traditional clothing but the options were limited and the prices were a bit steep in my opinion. I did purchase a colorful woven belt that I think will pair great with a crisp white dress in the Summer.

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Without finding the clothes I was looking for, we took a ride into town to see what we could find. The cabs are a flat rate $8 each way, regardless of the number of passengers. We were dropped on the main street that runs along the water, where all the shops are located. There are places to eat, cigar shops, silver stalls and hanging hammocks. The more I travel I feel like I have to search harder for authentic items made in country. So much of what is sold to tourists is junk, manufactured usually in China. It saddens me but furthers my resolve to find indigenous products and makes it that much sweeter when I do.

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While there was some traditional clothing to be had, it was mostly children’s clothes and sarongs made elsewhere. I opted instead for a traditional striped poncho that I plan to wear with a wide belt. I love how the colors pop off of the black background. Its worth noting that I bought this from a small shop on one of the side streets. Though the vendor gave me a hard time, I was able to bargain the price down from her asking price. You’ll have better luck negotiating with vendors off the Main Street as they are probably not seeing as much foot traffic.

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We strolled the street until we had seen enough of the same. It’s worth venturing outside the port to check out the town, but I honestly feel like I found better prices and more variety of items in the cruise port.

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