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If it weren’t for social media, I’d probably be completely out of the loop from all things ‘now’. Sometimes, when it comes to music, I still am. I search the Top 40 list once in while (that’s a secret I never thought I’d share) for downloadable tunes. Otherwise, I’d be stuck in my Katy Perry rut circa Hot N Cold.

What helps keep me young though is my bunch of kiddos/cousins/nieces back home in Michigan. Think of me as their older prodigy being taught what’s in and what’s not. Not directly though, I still need to keep up somewhat-cool appearances. Apparently, this label, Vera Bradley, is pretty big there. And when I say big I mean “all the cool girls in high school (and middle school) have it” big. A brand from Indiana, Vera Bradley used to exclusively offer quilted cotton bags in a mix of colorful prints – florals and paisleys mostly. Now, they’ve branched out to quilted leather and neutral leather pieces.

My cousins have sets of at least 5 bags each – styles usually come in seasonal prints and they seem to be collecting prints each. But it’s not just limited to teens/tweens apparently – you know, my gurus’  age range – the brand appeals to women of all ages, as I’ve been seeing a bunch of older women post their collections over at Instagram.

I’m very impressed by any brand that can get the youth excited over paisley – a print kind of reserved for the elderly. Of course, in true easily swayed fashion, I ended up getting myself a bag or two. (Technically the other one is my mom’s but she doesn’t need to know I’m eyeing it. Though she probably already does.)

Still, it doesn’t seem weird to me at all that I’m still sartorially influenced by my family. I actually used to buy items that their mothers had like a little sister copying her role models. Now, I seem to have moved on to the children, even borrowing a bag from one when she was 10 and I, in college. I’m not ashamed if it means getting to learn a thing or two about what kids like these days and even taking part if the pieces are as cute as this.

Will try to photograph the other one too. Meanwhile, I’m using this mini crossbody which is honestly such a welcome change to my regular 5-pounder tote. I can only put phones, cards and cash in this one but trimming down the unnecessary is always a good change, no?

Bag, VERA BRADLEY | Sandals, NINE WEST | Sunglasses, RAY-BAN

photos by Paul Mendoza