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Easy summer totes, sandals and great book reads

As a handbag designer, it was really fun to put together a list of my favorite summer bags. Having seen almost everything on the market, the totes in this roundup scored high in my book. I think you’ll like the fabulous sandals too — they range from luxurious to great seasonal buys.

Remember, it’s not just about having the greatest bag on the beach, it’s about the quality of your life. Be sure to stash some good mystery books in your tote. If you haven’t experienced the bluesy fun of devouring a thrilling page-turner during steamy hot weather, you’re missing out!

Coral reverie

I love this delicious Crab & Scallop hand printed tote by Ann Veronica. Having lived near the ocean all her life, Ann finds inspiration for her patterns from not only the visual spectrum of color, but fog horns, buoy bells, and cresting waves–even the smell and taste of salt and brine. Ann’s original designs are hand silk-screened by artists (no stencils or screen presses are used) and this gives her patterns their beautiful colors and bold lines. Running a handmade business myself for the past six years, I have a deep appreciation for the 35 hours it takes her team to make a screen. This style comes in three sizes and many prints. The large tote shown in coral is $89 at

I’m also a huge fan of these gorgeous Amy Jo Gladstone slides. They’re comfortable and chic at the same time. “Blair” slides are $190 at

Hands down, one of the best places to pick up great summer reading is The Mystery Bookstore in Los Angeles. Thanks to recommendations by their staff, who are walking encyclopedias of the genre, I’ve got Walking The Perfect Square by Reed Farrel Coleman tucked in my tote. It’s a great detective story that pulls you between the gritty New York City streets of the late 70s and the present day. You can also order online at The Mystery Bookstore is located at 1036-C Broxton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA (310) 209-0415


Sweet summer days

Who wouldn’t fall in love with this roomy tote by Vera Bradley? The matching wallet is too adorable for words. Worn with these classic sandals updated by Sigerson Morisson, you’ll have just the right amount low-key pizzazz.

Villager tote in Bermuda Pink, $69 and Zip around wallet $34 at Slide with Metallic Pink leather, $220 at

Another top pick to toss in your bag is Savage Garden by Denise Hamilton. Her exotic tale of mystery and suspense introduces a stylish and smart protagonist who will take you from the barrio to Beverly Hills. Available at


We’ll always have Paris

This whimsical Eiffel Tower print by Myna Bags will add Parisian flair to your summer wardrobe and looks great paired with these cute silver sandals by On Your Feet. “Lafayette” bag $156 at

“Hin” sandal $39 at

While you’re hanging out at your favorite cafe, why not breeze through a clever whodunit, like I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason by Susan Candel.


Island fantasy

If you’re in the mood for fun, try out this adorable African Hut straw bag and a pair of bronze gladiator sandals by Chinese Laundry. African Hut bag $20 at

“Udi” sandal $49 at

All you need to go with your great accessories is a tropical drink, a bikini, and a couple of books by George Pelecanos. Capturing race relations and the streets of D.C. in a lyric way that’s been compared to Raymond Chandler, Pelecanos pairs two former cops in Right As Rain. One walked away from the job with his pride and a life–and the other didn’t. In Hell To Pay, the two are back again as partners hired to find a fourteen year old girl who’s gone missing. His books can be purchased at


Beach babe

Hit the beach with this roomy orange polka-dot trim bag & matching sun hat, $19 at

These stylish but practical Cabin Creek “Blair” sandal are perfect for wet, sandy situations. $12.99 at

Be sure to bring an assortment of delectable summer reading with you. Why not try Eric Stone’s, Living Room of the Dead, a hardboiled novel in the great noir tradition, with roots in a true story. Follow Ray Sharp, a British journalist from Hong Kong to Macau. To order, go to


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