North America

Mexico City’s Breakout Handbags Embrace Originality Like No Other

Mexico City’s Breakout Handbags Embrace Originality Like No Other

Image: María Rufina website
Think origami lover meets industrial design artist and you have a recipe for María Rufina’s breakout handbags. Based in Mexico City, this contemporary company makes geometrical purses but with a twist. They are foldable. Yep, that’s right, fashion handbags that can be easily disassembled to fit in a gym or travel bag.

About the Brand

Founded by Kary Rivera, María Rufina is at the forefront of Mexico’s burgeoning fashion scene. The brand’s prototypical design was once a college final project, and literally, a dream come true for the former student who was facing a bout of creative block (read interview here). Since then, the idea has flourished and now includes a collection of purses and wallets.

Moldable Handbags

The collection offers four main styles in the iconic origami inspired aesthetic and a few classic styles. Bags come with a colorful interior that can be selected by the customer, and are made out of neoprene or leather. However, the signature is the folding shopper which comes with short or long handles, is moldable and has a folding feature. For a more in-depth look at this model, check out our review. With a selection of unique handbags for the offering, there is sure to be one that captivates you.

Where to Buy

Shop the collection at María Rufina online. Please note, prices may be listed in MXD($) and need to be converted to USD($).

María Rufina: Foldable Designer Handbags Inspired by Origami

María Rufina: Foldable Designer Handbags Inspired by Origami

Image: María Rufina website
María Rufina, a burgeoning handbag brand out of Mexico, is on to something with its purses that resemble folded origami and are leather free. Its short handle folding bag has many features that make it a must-have bag for stylish professional women.

Product Details

  • Model Name: Shopper Zipper Folding Bag Short Handle
  • Materials: Exterior: Neoprene; Interior: synthetic suede
  • Colors: Exterior: black; Interior: assortment
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 12 in x 4.5 in x 11.5 in

Review

True to its name, the bag is constructed to be entirely collapsible. It has brilliantly placed side snaps that blend into the design yet come undone, along with a top zipper and handles that can be detached. Then, the bag lays flat and can be folded and stored in other things, like a gym bag.
However, it’s not your run-of-the-mill folding bag made out of cloth or nylon. This one is much stronger. It’s made out of thick neoprene and has a synthetic suede lining. Which, by the way, the customer gets to select.
Now here comes the fun part, you can mold the bag. The neoprene surface has a laser cut, origami-style stitched pattern which makes it pliable.  Poke in the sides and bottom and you have created a uniquely shaped handbag.

Highlights

  • Entirely collapsible
  • Origami aesthetic
  • Moldable shape
  • Unique handbag

Why It’s Recommended

María Rufina foldable handbags are unique in aesthetic and design. Within 2 mins, you can deconstruct and reconstruct the bag and mold it to your liking. They are perfect for toting to the office or folding in a suitcase for travel. Visit the website to see the full collection. Note, prices are listed in pesos and might need to be converted.

Architecture Meets Fashion with Cihuah’s Geometric Infused Clothes

Architecture Meets Fashion with Cihuah’s Geometric Infused Clothes

Image: Cihuah website
When you crave “something different” but want something that can be paired with everything; when you forgo balance for imbalance and feel like black/white or both, Cihuah, made for women by women, is a brand which captures that spirit to the core.

About the Brand

Cihuah (pronounced “See-whuah”) means women in Nahuatl, one of Mexico’s indigenous languages, and pays homage to that ancestry. The brand’s founder, Vanessa Guckel, who is French, began her career in architecture before transitioning into fashion. Those influences—portion and deconstruction—combined with Mexico’s ancestral roots, are apparent in the geometric theme of the clothing.

The Collection

Each collection is made for women to feel strong and independent. With bold, asymmetrical shapes the label emboldens women to own their individuality.  By weaving basic colors, black and white with reinvented garments, women can feel chic and confident while at work. Also, keeping social conscientiousness in mind, the brand is an advocate for vegan leather and thus creates with it.

Where to Buy

To see the full collection, including bags and jewelry, and to purchase, visit Cihuah online. Note, prices are listed in pesos and may need to be converted. Or, if in Mexico City, stop by the flagship store.

Highlight Your Passion with Womenswear Brand Fe Noel

Highlight Your Passion with Womenswear Brand Fe Noel

Image from Fe Noel website
Inspired by Caribbean life, Fe Noel is a black-owned women’s clothing brand offering pants and tops that reflect life, love, and of course, sophistication.

About the Designer

Brooklyn based designer, Felisha Noel has been greatly influenced by two things in her life—her Grenadian roots and women, specifically her mother and grandmother. Through her respect for both, she created a brand that helps women embrace their femininity and, furthermore, established a foundation to help young girls fulfill their entrepreneur dreams.

The Collection

The collection offers a nice range of pieces. Its voluminous sleeved tops embolden you to be daring, the bright hued dresses make you dream of summer or at the very least a warm escape, and its womanly designs are ultra-modern almost to a futuristic point.

Where to Buy

View and purchase the collection on Fe Noel’s website.

Work from Home and Still Feel Productive: 6 Top Productivity Tools

By Monica George

Work from Home and Still Feel Productive: 6 Top Productivity Tools

If you work remotely and ever find yourself struggling to feel productive, I’ve compiled a list of strategies that have worked for me. As an avid – nay – obsessed consumer of content on optimal morning routines and how to get more done in the day, I feel it’s worth clarifying that this article isn’t sponsored. All the information contained herein is first and foremost to share tools that have made accomplishing my work and goals much easier.

Alarmy

I am not a morning person nor – *yawn* – do I expect to ever be one. It’s fine. Because I still manage to get up at 5:15 am, four mornings/week and get a ton of s*** done. (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays I sleep in until 7:00 am).

For me, developing this habit has required trial and error and lots of practice; I used to use my husband as an excuse for disrupting my ‘hyper-productive’ morning routines, citing a not-entirely-unjustified concern with disturbing his precious law-school-student sleep. So instead, I’d simply wait until he needed to get up and then grumpily follow suit. All this did for me was give me a rushed and unfocused start to my days and it lead to resentment over the 2-3 hours I felt I’d lost from my mornings. I’ve since found a solution to this problem in order to preserve my morning routine – and the sanctity of our relationship.

Alarmy, thankfully, has a variety of gradual and un-startling alarm sound options and various “missions” to complete before the alarm will shut off. My favorite mission is the math which I complete at a Hard level first thing in the morning (á la (37 x 11) + 321). You won’t be able to fall back asleep after this mindful awakening (if you are able, you’re probably not challenging yourself enough). Pro-tip: smart watch users can keep their phones in a separate room and wake up with a simple wrist vibration to respect the light sleepers in your life.

Bluetooth Headphones

If you cohabitate with someone else and you don’t have wireless headphones yet, what are you waiting for!? I highly recommend you invest in a pair of these bad babies. (Hint: I’ve found the over-the-ear versions to usually have a longer battery life. I only charge mine a few times a week!) This is how I listen to TedTalks and audiobooks in the mornings while getting ready for the day. I’m emphasizing the “wireless” aspect of these because I find a great deal of value in being able to distance myself from my phone in the mornings. With wireless headphones, I relish my new found ability to prepare breakfast, walk my dogs, or do my morning cardio without my phone glued to my hand.

List Tracking

It’s hard to work from home or be productive without adopting some type A tendencies. It’s been imperative for me to maintain weekly to-do lists in order to track my progress on a variety of projects at once. I try to prioritize these by most important to least important and I find that, though I gravitate towards analog record-keeping (like my bullet journal) for daily/weekly task lists, I prefer Google Keep for sharing and travel purposes. A slight compromise between both analog and digital list-keeping is the Rocket Book that comes with reusable pages and erasable ink. The selling point here is the easy page-scan you complete with your phone that is automatically uploaded and sorted into predetermined folders in the cloud.

Airtable

This is my favorite tool for project planning. Whether I’m planning an event, overseeing a collaborative project with multiple deadlines, or tracking my own project to-do list, this platform has everything I need.  Some have compared it to “excel on steroids.” This tool does what your excel sheets just aren’t strong enough for. Airtable not only offers me a way to sort my to-do list by project but I can also choose between alternative views allowing me to see my tasks sorted by deadline or priority. There’s an additional kanban view for those that prefer that style of project management. You can also store documents, photos etc within these lists (so handy when interviewing applicants!) The best part is, the basic platform (which is all I’ve ever needed in the last three jobs I’ve had) is completely free to use. I’m serious. It even has calendar integration capabilities so that deadlines auto populate. It will rock your world.

Calendar Blocking

If I add an item to my task list, I also schedule time to accomplish the task in my calendar. I recommend prioritizing the tasks you know you tend to put off or dread doing at your most productive time of day. I’m least productive between 1-4 pm so I never place any creative work at those times if I can help it. Block out every section of the day with the tasks you need to accomplish and stay honest. If you unintentionally got sucked into a task that was personal or unproductive, alter your calendar so that you can do better the next day. I set this up at night for the following day and add any unfinished tasks from the current day to my upcoming schedule.  

Time-cube

Again, maybe this is just a type-A thing, but I love to set timers for myself. I’ve found these one of the most effective tools to motivate me to get something done. Maybe it’s weird that I like to see how fast I can fold my laundry or read a chapter in a book — but if that sounds like you, get yourself a timing device (preferably not your phone if you find it a distraction). The Time Cube is an adaptation of a kitchen timer in a compact and attractive cube form that has different time-increment options available. Set it on its side while you complete 20 minutes of morning pages or 15 minutes of emails at the beginning of each day. I also use this when I take a 5 minute break midday to clear my mind.