DIY Accessory

I’m not a huge DIY-er but occasionally I come across a project I want to take on like making my own decorative handbag strap.

I first discovered how cool a decorative strap looks last year when Fendi introduced their line. Elaborate and colourful I was intrigued but completely turned off by the price ($1500+). A month ago I saw that Rebecca Minkoff also had a line of “guitar straps” available. The price point was more bearable at around $150 but there had a to be a more affordable way to get the look and YouTube was the answer.


There were several videos showing what was needed and how to do it. I definitely can’t claim credit for inventing DIY.


  1. Handbag that you can attach a strap to.
  2. O rings that open and close with a hinge.
  3. Guitar Strap



You can find the O rings at any craft store or bead shop. I got my guitar strap at Steve’s Music on Queen West. You can also find plenty of them (really nice ones) online.

All you do is thread the O ring through the handbag and then the guitar strap at each end. Make sure the strap is not twisted because the O ring does not swivel to untwist like other handbag straps.


Viola – you have a handbag with a really unique strap. If you chose the colour/pattern of your guitar strap with your handbags in mind you can use it with several different bags.



Mini Bags

Several designers have down-sized their handbag offerings this season. The French fashion houses in particular love the idea of a mini. You may think that a mini bag is decorative but useless. I have changed my thinking after purchasing a beautiful aqua leather mini bag in Como. First, a la francais.

French Design

Louis Vuitton delicate, pretty mini pink and burgandy Capucine can be handheld or worn crossbody. It comes is variety of leathers or skins and many colour combinations. The mini Viv by Roger Vivier is bold and structured in black and white with 2 compartments and pockets inside to organize your small stuff. Finally the Hermes mini Halzan in sapphire. The bag of a thousand forms. When you see how many ways this bag can be worn and how stylish it looks you will want to save your cash for this investment bag!

Italian Design

My mini bag has the width to hold a full size wallet, iphone, keys and lipstick. For social occasions not much else is necessary. My mini bag has 2 handles as well as a detachable cross body strap. When I use my mini bag for work it needs a companion tote. I use my Longchamp tote for all the work week necessities.

Italian Haul

I’ve been back for a couple of weeks from my trip to Italy and as always I was depressed to leave la dolce vita and return to my everyday vita. That being said, my everyday vita allows me to live la dolce vita for short periods of time. On to the fashion and the shopping…


Having visited both the North and South on this trip I can say the style language is very different. The North boasts Milan – fashion capitol of the world and mecca for modern art and design. Northern Italian woman love their jeans and even if they are ripped to shreads, they are styled with lovely ballet flats or neat, clean sneakers + a blouse or crisp white shirt. You won’t see a pair of dirty, grungy Converse anywhere. You see neat, tidy Converse or Stan Smiths.

The South is totally different. It was still full summer in Sicily. Women were more bohemian in dresses and frilly tops paired with flat sandals and high heels.


Shopping was not the number 1 priority but I did take advantage of every opportunity made available. My primary shopping was done at Foxtown in Mendrisio, Switzerland. It is about a 40 minute drive from Milan and on every Asian Tour of Italy package. It is no Great Lakes or Sawgrass or any other big outlet Mall you can think of, but the quality of high end designer stores is what makes it famous.

I focused my attention on handbags and footwear. Specifically Gucci. img_2935I wanted to celebrate the completion of my certificate in Digital Strategy from U of T with a Gucci Bag. I did my research so I knew what styles I liked and I definitely wanted the double GG canvas. I love the rose gold trim and fold over closure on this bag. It holds a ton and also has a cross-body strap. It’s the perfect Forever Gucci bag at less than 1/2 price. This style has been updated for 2016 but the fine straps and hint of pink add a touch of elegance and femininity to this bag.


I scored on img_3199ballet flats at Tods. I love Tods shoes. Their driving loafers are famous for comfort and pedal to the metal grip but I’m not a loafer girl – I’m a ballet flat girl. I chose a tri-colour suede and leather combo in royal blue, charcoal and black as well as a deep rose patent leather. These were marked down twice so I basically payed for a regular pair of no-name leather flats but got Tods quality instead.

If you’ve been reading my blog you know I have been searching for a dark green blazer. My favourite Italian brand Benetton came through. This blazer is soft and drapes well. I know it will look great this fall. Especially when I pair it with the chunky stone necklace I bought in a local market.


I couldn’t leave her at home. I had fun shooting the doll in Italy. Thanks to Elena for your patience and help setting up the shots.




Trip preparation can always be daunting. Going overseas for an extended stay is really challenging. How much should I bring? Will it be hot, cold? How many pairs of shoes will I need.


I planned my trip to Italy when peak tourist season is winding down but it’s still summer weather. I did not want to worry about bring clothes for 2 seasons but then again shopping for clothes in Milan is not a hardship;) I also had to plan around my host’s availability.


Neutral and versatile are my key words when packing for a trip.To beat the heat I have dresses and culottes. Jeans and a hoodie are good ideas for the plane because it gets cold on a long haul flight. Comfortable sandals and sneakers for exploring. Thin layers that can come off and on as needed.


I have fallen in love with packing cubes. They hold a ton and keep everything organized within the suitcase. They also make unpacking really easy. I did upgrade my ticket to allow for a second checked bag. More for way back…


Must haves for me are a lightweight cross-body bag and a backpack. This Coach bag is great for everyday and has lots of pockets to keep me organized. The Herschel backpack will hold my camera, water, guide book and any other essentials while touring around.



I have had to prep for 2 different portions of this trip.

  1. Milan Shopping
  2. Extended stay in Sicily

I wanted to experience outlet shopping – Italian Style and my cousins and I are deciding whether to go to Arese which is just outside Milan or Foxtown in Switzerland. We will also be going to Milan to visit Fondazione Prada which is a modern art museum funded by Prada. We will ofcourse also go shopping in Milan.

My cousin Elena and I will be flying to Sicily for a week. I’ve been reading up on the history of the island and I’m really looking forward to seeing Siracusa and Agrigento with its’ Valli dei Templi. For all this site seeing I have had to do a thorough cleaning and prep of my camera. Although my SLR is a few years old it takes amazing photos. Be sure to follow me on instagram @latonizzo and @modacarta. I’ll be using both accounts.


modacarta DOLL

I could not possibly leave without the star of this blog. I have created a fun, versatile wardrobe for her and I’m looking forward to shooting her in la bella Italia!


Arrivederci! a Presto!


Diary of a Bag-aholic

I love handbags! I am constantly changing them to match outfits, occasions or tasks. My problem is I do not have unlimited disposable income to spend on bags. What I do have is inventory!

For the last 2 years I have held a pre-loved bag sale at my office. I’ve gotten a great response and have repeat customers. I even get inquiries about the next sale.

I start by taking inventory and classifying the bags into categories. Then I take flat lay photos of them. From there it is into Powerpoint to create the catalogue.

I really enjoy the process and am so glad when my pre-loved bags find new, fashionable homes!


Purse Charm

Last year Fendi introduced the Mink Pom-Pom (fuschia) handbag accessory and well – I became obsessed. I purchased a grey knock-off at Indigo and used it all through fall and winter. Now that it’s Spring, it’s time for a change.

I found this blue set of pom poms (feature image) at the Coach Outlet and it reminded me of the pom poms girls used to put on their skates. The blue is bright and will go with all my spring/summer handbags.

Here’s other suggestions for handbag charms:


Flat Lay Spring – Part 1

This week on modacarta I explore a fashion photography style called Flat Lay. There are many instagram superstars who specialize in this style so here is my contribution.

Part 1 – Accessories

The red small hobo bag, I purchased in Paris about 10 years ago. The brand is Mandarina Duck from Italy. The line includes handbags, messenger bags, laptop cases, and luggage. Select pieces are available at Taschen in Toronto. The statement necklace is Ann Taylor and I found it in the clearance bin. I always get compliments on it. The scarf is from Italy and I picked it up at Winners. I love the colours and the soft cotton wrinkles with wear for a boho look. The earrings are vintage Monet. Gold hoops are a classic so don’t get rid of them. If you have a pair, just move them to the back of your jewellery box. The bracelet is BCBG -another fab clearance find. I love the word Bella. Very Italian!

Stay tuned for Flat Lay shoes up next on modacarta!

Optimistic Luxury

Longchamp defines itself as optimistic luxury. Their bags and luggage have been created  by the Cassegrain Family since 1948. The “Le Pliage” line of bags is one of their most popular. These bags fold up securely so you can pack them or carry them with you when you’re out shopping. You can tell I’m a fan by my collection of Longchamp bags in the feature image.

Le Pliage comes in several sizes, formats and tons of colours. There is a mini bag with short handles (orange) perfect if you bring your lunch to work. A tote bag with long handles (grey) great for traveling, shopping, or the gym. There is also a knapsack which folds down (light blue) so you can always throw it in your suitcase. The distinctive tan leather wears well and develops a patina over time. These bags are lightweight so they don’t add any additional weight to what you’re carrying but are sturdy so you can carry a lot.

Longchamp releases special edition Le Pliage each year. Sometimes working with an artist to create a unique print. The navy blue and turquoise bag I have is named Ravenna and is from the SS2014 collection.

Le Pliage also comes in a heavier weight, tone-on-tone version called NEO (burgandy and black). What’s great about these bags is they have a removable shoulder strap so you can wear them crossbody.

Longchamp also has a full line of leather handbags (purple) in a variety of shapes and sizes.

I couldn’t resist making a paper Longchamp tote bag for the doll. I chose this green/aqua coIMG_2075lour because I considered that colour for my first Le Pliage tote bag. I ended up going with grey because it was neutral and I knew I would be adding more bags later on!

Do you have a love affair with Longchamp or another brand? I want to hear your story.



Italian Edge

Recently I purchased a Valentino handbag. Not “the Valentino” of Rockstud shoes and dark floral boots fame but Mario Valentino.

Mario Valentino was a leather craftsman from Napoli and his fame as a fashion designer peaked in the 80s with edgy leather clothing, and sky high shoes and boots. Helmut Newton shot a lot of the brand’s iconic ads. I took inspiration from these 2 ads for my paper design in this post.

Since the founder’s passing in 1991 the brand has focused on handbags.mia-black I purchased this one at the Saks Off 5th. It’s great size for going out because it will carry a full size wallet and a larger sized phone.

Paper Art

This black outfit was inspired by the halter style on some of Valentino’s leather outfits. I love tight skirt with over-skirt and billowy pockets. I added some printed black paper to take away the starkness of the outfit.




Black Friday Shopping is not just about the deals it’s about making strategic purchase decisions. Business attire, athleisure, jeans, and party wear should all be considered when hunting for deals.

I picked up this great Zara top for $21. It has a printed silky front and cotton back. Perfect with leggings and heels for after work cocktails or a casual holiday party. I’m using my Kate Spade clutch to carry essentials like phone, cash, keys and Chanel lipstick. Happy Holiday Party season everyone!