Thrifty Thursday’s – #PurplePurse 2014 and the Celine Luggage Inspired Tote

Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Allstate Foundation® and Latina Bloggers Connect.  All opinions are my own.

This week, I am combining two topics for my Thrifty Thursday’s post.  Originally, I had only planned to post about the ‘Luxe for Less’ Celine Luggage inspired tote that I found at Forever 21, but then, I learned that I was selected to participate in the Purple Purse 2014 campaign.  The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse campaign is making it fashionable to talk about the domestic and financial abuse that traps women in abusive relationships. I thought it might be worth combining the two and increase exposure for this very serious topic.


For those of you who are not familiar with the campaign, the Allstate Foundation has been working since 2005 to bring attention to the issue of domestic and financial abuse.  This year, they partnered with Kerry Washington (yes of the show, Scandal, and fitting to talk about her today since Scandal premiered tonight!!) to bring even greater awareness to their efforts and raise money for this cause.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 10.04.35 PMThe beautiful Kerry Washington!

They have made quite a splash on social media, using the hashtag #PurplePurse and helped to raise over $800,000 as of this evening!!  Part of what they are doing to raise awareness is encouraging women to post pictures of their #PurplePurse style.  Add a purple purse to your outfit, or perhaps a #PurplePurse tassel (many thanks to Latina Bloggers Connect and All State for mine!) and post it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Receipt of the #PurplePurse tassel coincided with my discovery of the Celine Luggage Inspired tote.  Let me tell ya, I put them both to use immediately!  I have coveted the Celine Luggage tote for a LONG time now!  Long time.  Perhaps since I was an egg.  Take a look at the beauty that is this bag for yourself:

fall_2014_leathergoods_26Celine Luggage Tote in Light Copper

But I was not about to spend $2800 on a bag!  So, of course I was ecstatic when I found this inspired version at Forever 21:

IMG_20140922_172030My very own luggage tote!  Only $32.90 at Forever 21.

The #PurplePurse tassel is the perfect addition to what has become my favorite work tote!  It fits my MacBook Pro, fits over my shoulder, and goes with most any outfit.  Take a look at how I have styled the tote so far:


Perfect with a classic office outfit…pencil skirt and button-down top.


Even perfect for travel!  Cheers to my luggage and tote!


Finally, channeling Elle Woods of Legally Blonde with my darling Murphy in tow!

Not bad for an inspired bag, right?!  Especially to use as a work tote.  Adding tassels to bags is currently very on trend, and I have contemplated getting a tassel of my own, but am glad that I now carry one that represents something.  One that helps bring awareness to the seriousness that is the domestic and financial abuse of women worldwide.

Visit to get more information, and participate in the challenge on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter between now and 10/3/14!  Before I conclude this post, I leave you with some facts and statistics to better inform you, and hopefully encourage you to participate in the challenge and/or donate to this very worthy cause.  Open your heart and wallet to stand up for domestic and financial abuse victims and those who serve them.

Finally, if you or someone you know needs immediate help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

Domestic and Financial Abuse Facts and Figures

  • Domestic violence affects one in four women in her lifetime – that’s more women than breast cancer, ovarian cancer
    and lung cancer combined.
  • Most people think only of physical abuse when they consider domestic violence. Yet, financial abuse happens in 98% of all cases of domestic violence and is one of the most powerful ways to keep a victim trapped.
  • Domestic violence and financial abuse often go hand-in-hand, but nearly 8 in 10 Americans have not heard much about financial abuse as a form of domestic violence. The number one reason domestic violence survivors stay, leave or return to an abusive relationship is that they don’t have the financial resources to break free.
  • Two-thirds of Americans believe that domestic violence is a serious problem, yet just over 1 in 3 have ever talked about it. Allstate Foundation Purple Purse aims to make it fashionable to talk about this difficult topic.
  • You can help ensure domestic violence survivors – likely someone you know – aren’t financially trapped in an abusive relationship by joining the Purple Purse Challenge.
  • The Allstate Foundation is investing more than half a million dollars in the Purple Purse Challenge. The more donations each nonprofit gets, the more it can compete for Allstate Foundation incentive funding. Go to between Sept. 2 and Oct. 3 to join the Challenge and help a nonprofit near you.
  • Kerry Washington, Emmy-nominated actress and domestic violence activist, is serving as a Purple Purse ambassador to help raise awareness for the cause and has designed a limited-edition purple purse. The purse was created to represent the center of a woman’s financial domain and to inspire women to reclaim their financial independence.

Until next time!  Stay chic!

The ABCs of RSV

Disclaimer:  This post is a compensated post in collaboration with MedImmune and Latina Bloggers Connect.  However, opinions expressed in this post are my own and have not been modified by the sponsors or any other third parties.

As promised, today I am writing about a very important public health issue: Respiratory Syncytial Virus, better known or more commonly known as RSV.  As a mother of a soon-to-be 9-month old, I take every opportunity to learn about things that might affect my little one; RSV is no exception!

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common, seasonal virus contracted by nearly 100% of babies by their 2nd birthday. Although RSV is extremely common, many parents are unaware of the dangers that RSV presents to their children.

As a health disparities researcher, I am very interested in disparities across different racial ethnic groups.  The data indicate that although infants of all races/ethnicities are at risk for RSV, African-American and Latino babies are at increased risk of developing severe RSV disease.

Why?  Well, among Latinos in the US specifically, half a million babies are born premature each year, with the preterm birth rate increasing 6% over the last decade. Currently 1 in 8 Latino babies is born premature, and it is possible that high prematurity rates are a reason for increased risk of RSV within Latino communities. In addition, 1 in 3 Latina mothers avoids or postpones proper treatment for their child because of healthcare costs, lack of access to care, or lack of time off from work.  Similar factors hold true in African American communities.

All parents—especially those with babies at increased risk for contracting RSV (e.g. preemie babies) —must understand key facts about RSV to protect their children. Learning the ABCs of RSV is a simple way to keep your family healthy during RSV season.

A is for Awareness:

RSV is a common seasonal virus, contracted by nearly all children by the age of 2, and typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full-term babies. Preterm infants, however, are born with under-developed lungs and immature immune systems that put them at heightened risk for developing severe RSV disease, often requiring hospitalization.

  • RSV occurs in epidemics each year, typically from November through March, though it can vary by geography and year-to-year.
  • RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States, with approximately 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 400 infant deaths each year.
  • RSV disease is responsible for 1 of every 13 pediatrician visits and 1 of every 38 trips to the ER, in children under the age of 5.
  • Despite being so common, many parents aren’t aware of RSV; in fact, one-third of mothers (and two-thirds of Latino mothers) have never heard of the virus.

B is for Babies:

  • Premature babies—defined as those born before 37 weeks gestation—are most at risk for developing severe RSV disease because they have under-developed lungs and fewer antibodies to fight the virus than babies born full term.
  • The virus often leads to a mild respiratory infection, but in some babies, such as preemies, it can develop into something much more serious due to their underdeveloped lungs and immature immune systems.  Poor little defenseless little ones!! 😦

C is for Contagious:

RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily through touching, sneezing and coughing. Additionally, the virus can live on the skin and surfaces for hours. Learn the symptoms of severe RSV disease and contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your child exhibits one or more of the following:

  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
  • Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
  • Fever [especially if it is over 100.4°F (rectal) in infants under 3 months of age]


There is no treatment for RSV disease once it’s contracted, so prevention is critical. A pediatrician is the best way for mothers to get answers to their child’s health issues.  In addition to talking to their children’s doctor, parents can help protect their children from contracting RSV by:

  • Washing their hands and ask others to do the same
  • Keeping toys, clothes, blanket and sheets clean
  • Avoiding crowds and other young children during RSV season
  • Never letting anyone smoke around your baby (that includes you!  Don’t smoke around your baby, whether that be your human or fur-baby!!  I digress, but you get what I’m trying to say. J)
  • Steering clear of people who are sick or who have recently been sick

Speak to your child’s pediatrician to determine if your baby is at high risk for RSV disease, and if so, what additional steps may be recommended. For more information about RSV and prevention, visit

Thanks for reading, becoming informed, and for helping to prevent RSV in our precious baby population!  Here is a printable info sheet to place on your fridge, in your baby book, or to simply have on hand should you ever have questions about RSV.

Stay chic and informed, fab friends!! 💋

RSV Infographic - ENGLISH