Women In Philanthropy’s 9th Annual Power of the Purse

By: Staci Rutherford

Last year I was invited to join the planning committee of “Power of the Purse,” a fun event with fabulous bags, fantastic women and fundraising for a wonderful cause.  “Power of the Purse” is in its 9th year that includes a silent and live auction of purses to benefit local women and children charities.  It is the signature fundraiser of Women In Philanthropy, a diverse group of professional women dedicated to investing in helping disadvantaged women and children in the Midlands.

I was excited to help with “Power of the Purse,” and made it my mission to find unique, handmade, and designer bags for the auctions.  Since I spend a majority of my time researching and networking with handbag designers and companies, I decided to contact them, along with anyone else I could think of, to donate a bag.  The experience was far more rewarding than I anticipated.  Everyone who attended enjoyed an evening of guilt free shopping, a martini luge and mingling with other dynamic women.  In the end, every handbag sold!  Check out a few pictures from last year’s “Power of the Purse” below:

Women In Philanthropy’s goal is to make this year’s “Power of the Purse” bigger and better than the last. Wink Magazine is the official digital media sponsor, and has offered me the opportunity to feature the “best of the best” bags in a future issue.  Proceeds from “Power of the Purse” are invested in Women in Philanthropy’s grants that benefit women and children in the Midlands.  In addition to community philanthropy, Women in Philanthropy stimulates positive change in community leadership by increasing women’s involvement in the community, increasing women’s community networks and increasing the personal development of all women involved.

“Power of the Purse” is expected to sell out, so visit www.womeninphilantropy.com to register in advance.  If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or donating to the gift bags (there will be 250 women attending), there are opportunities to do both!  Grab your girlfriends and come out to shop while supporting a fantastic cause!

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone – Part 2

By: Staci Rutherford

“Believe with all of your heart that you will do what you were made to do.” – Orison Swett Marden

I am beginning part two with a meaningful quote that sums up how I have been feeling since before stepping out of my comfort zone.  I spent the month of February on an emotional roller coaster.  At times, I was overwhelmed with stress and anxiety, however, my excitement and happiness outweighed those feelings and I came out on top.

The HandbagReport.com showroom officially opened its doors to the public on Thursday, March 1, 2012, which was also First Thursday at Tapp’s Art Center.  First Thursday is a big event that takes place every month at Tapp’s, where the work of different artists, photographers, and sculptors are featured.  It’s a fun, laid back atmosphere that is perfect for networking and connecting with kindred spirits.  I met some fantastic people and received positive feedback on the space that I worked so hard to make just right.

As I explained throughout the evening, the HandbagReport.com showroom is extension of the blog.  It’s a place to personally connect with my readers and customers, and to bring the blog from virtuality to reality.  I chose accessories from a local designer to feature in the showroom, Nana by Sally.  The collection is one-of-a-kind handmade clutches and handbags made from vintage, vintage-inspired and designer fabrics.  I also interviewed the designer of Nana by Sally, Sally Peek, which is currently posted on the blog.

The next few weeks will be spent continuing to decorate the space, and preparing for the official grand opening.  I look forward to sharing the showroom with my friends, family, and all of the women in town who love handbags.  I believe with all of my heart that I am doing what I am meant to do, which is an exciting and scary adventure!

Handbag Tips: How to Clean and Store Your Handbags

By:  Staci Rutherford

To Help Keep Your Handbags Clean, I’m Giving Away a Mia Cotone Dust Cover!

It should come as no surprise that I am writing another article about handbags.  While it’s fun to share my favorite picks of the season, this post is about cleaning and storing your bags.  It amazes me how many women spend hundreds of dollars on their handbags and don’t put forth any effort in taking care of them. Regardless of the amount of money spent on a bag, it’s good to know how to care for your bag properly to ensure that it has a long life and to keep them looking like new.

Tips on Cleaning Your Handbag

1.  Empty all the pockets of your handbag, and shake gently to remove dust, gum/candy wrappers, receipts and loose change.
2. Clean interior of bag by gently putting it inside out and using a lint roller.  If you can’t pull out the lining of your handbag, use the fabric brush attachment on your vacuum.
3.  Use alcohol free baby wipes to clean leather or leather-like bags.
4.  Keep your makeup in a separate cosmetic bag to prevent unexpected stains.

Tips on Storing Handbags

1.  Fill handbags loosely with tissue paper to help keep the original shape.
2. Keep your handbag in a dust cover.  If your bag didn’t come with a drawstring pouch, then consider purchasing a few that coordinate with your prized possessions or the bags you wear most often.
3. Most of us don’t have customized closets with a designated space for our bags. As an alternative, store them in baskets or bins made of plastic-coated wire. Stand bags upright or lay them down with a little space in between.  Your bags need to breathe, so avoid plastic bends with a tight-fitting lid.

If you are looking for a stylish storage solution for your handbags, I highly recommend Mia Cotone handbag dust covers.  They are thoughtfully designed to keep your handbags clean and organized.  By storing bags individually, it keeps leather soft and supple and prevents drying and fading.  There are 28 colors to choose from and they are available in several styles and sizes.  I hope my tips will save your bags from being thrown on the floor in your closet.

To show my appreciation to all of the readers of the Every Woman Blog, I am giving away one Mia Cotone zebra print Mia Clutch dust cover!  All you have to do is “like” Mia Cotone on Facebook and comment on this post with the following “I want a Mia Cotone dust cover!”  One lucky winner will be randomly selected on February 20th.

Update Your Fall Wardrobe with a New Bag

By: Staci Rutherford

Now that fall is here, it’s time to update our wardrobe.  The easiest way to revamp your wardrobe without breaking the bank is to invest in new accessories.  Accessories are the key to transforming those items in your closet that start to become drab over time.  Accessories include jewelry, hosiery, scarves, hats, handbags, and shoes.  They will instantly bring an outfit to life.

Before you begin shopping for new accessories, take an hour (or two) to assess what is already in your closet.  If there is anything that you have not worn within the last year, get rid of it!  There is no point in holding on to clothes and accessories that are not being put to good use.  Organize your unwanted items into three piles – one for the church/Salvation Army/Goodwill; another for friends and family; and a pile of your almost new/designer items that you don’t want to give away.  I’m using the term “designer” loosely.  Clothes don’t have to cost hundreds of dollars to be considered valuable.  That pile will go to a consignment store.  Consigning is a great way to earn extra money for clothes that you no longer wear.  I recommend Roundabout Consignments.

Once you sort through your fall wardrobe to determine what to keep, take note of the color palette, what may be missing, and challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone.  Now, let the shopping begin!  My top two favorite accessories are scarves and handbags, of course.  Since I am constantly scouring the Internet for great deals, I have compiled a list of fabulous fall handbags that are under $150.00.  I have chosen a few evenings bags, everyday bags, and casual bags that are both stylish, functional and versatile.

Market Sequin Clutch, $44.00 at whitehouseblackmarket.com

Jeweled Crossbody Bag, $98.00 at bananarepublic.com

Deux Lux Sequin Tote, $39.50 at ae.com

R&J Handbags by Romeo & Juliet Couture Luggage Satchel, $63.00 at lastcall.com

Steve Madden Yale Convertible Satchel, $118.00 at zappos.com

Striped Messenger, $32.80 at forever21.com

Ivanka Trump Grace Satchel, $125.00 at dillards.com

R&Em Zippy Bowler, $88.00 at macys.com

If you have any questions about how to accessorize or want to share a new handbag you purchased recently to update your fall wardrobe, email me anytime!