I fell in love in Paris, was awe-inspired to write in Rome, found the true meaning of history in London, was mystified by the magic of Moscow and bewitched by the beauty of Brazil. Ahhhh travel. I love it and if you read my blog on a regular basis, you know my wanderlust doesn’t stop there. A few years ago…

On a whim (while on assignment in Scotland,) I decided to stay. I was nursing a broken heart and took refuge in a small but quaint hotel. My days were spent wandering around the lavish and lush green countryside. I’ll never forget the way the rolling hills danced their way up toward Edinburgh Castle.

At the top, they elegantly intertwined (like long-lost lovers,) crescendoing into a perfect blend of old world charm and modern day sophistication. My respite, to the country known for its spirited people, music, whiskey, beer and the very first sighting of the Loch Ness Monster, was experiencing a particularly cold Spring that year.

I, however, managed to find warmth by shopping along the Royal Mile and wandering in and out of pubs on Princes Street. I found joy in watching the many buskers, especially the bagpipers dressed in full regalia, playing slow and stately songs. I’m sure the endless pints of Guinness, large plates of fish and chips and the occasional hearty helping of Haggis helped, too. Yes, I really did like Haggis (and yes, I know it’s made from sheep stomach.)
Eventually, I returned home, just in time for work to send me to “The Land Down Under.” My job, once I got around the globe, was to seek out the much talked about surf, sun and sand the Aussies are so famous for basking in. The Golden Coast didn’t disappoint. Each morning, I was greeted with the most amazing yellowy sunrise, speckled with warm chunks of amber and light orange wispy clouds.

Before nightfall, the Land of Oz would paint its final masterpiece, adding purply-pink with hints of deep blue to the sky. In the Outback I rode camels, watched Wallabies, went on walkabout and even snaked carefully (with a camera crew,) down the wild and rugged Billabong River.

The following year, I was sent to the gorgeous and glamorous South of France, for the Cannes International Film Festival. I was hypnotized by its sweeping mountainous views and stunning, light green sea. The city was in pure decadence mode, too, as people from all over the world converged on “The Festival City” to celebrate the best in film in the French Riviera.

Most recently, I made my way to one of the most massive cities in the world: Hong Kong. Despite being there to cover a major motion picture, I was more mesmerized by the “Pearl of the Orient” itself. The city is this unbelievably big, throbbing mass of concrete infused with creative industrialism, but at the same time, it’s cradled into a spectacular cocoon of nature: Victoria Harbour. The water is so blue, it makes the Maldives look murky. It’s impossible to tell where the ocean ends and the sky begins.

These are only some of the amazing journeys I’ve been lucky enough to take; writing and reminiscing about them makes me so nostalgic. Matter of fact, making those moments and memories last a lifetime is one of my daily journalistic challenges. Along with journaling/blogging my experiences, I always find some kind of keepsake or token to bring home to remind me of my adventure.

I guess that’s why I find myself especially attracted to this week’s blog: “A Window to the World,” featuring Bagghy Miami. Bagghy is a purse line created by Italian designer, Nicola Mattiazzo who, much like myself, is a true citizen of the planet. He loves to travel, explore and share his remarkable findings.

It was a trip here, to the United States, that changed his designing destiny. Nicola really liked New York City, but more importantly, he fell madly in love with many of the photos he captured in Times Square. Instead of tucking his snapshots away or making some digital scrapbook page, he took it to the next level, printing his beautiful pictures on high-quality, leather bags.

Viola! The idea for Bagghy was born and that was only the beginning. Whether it’s Italy, France, London or Manhattan, Nicola always finds his muse when he gets out his passport and makes his way to his next fashionably photogenic city.

Shireen Sandoval: How would you describe a Bagghy purse?
Nicola Mattiazzo: Bagghy bags are bold, stylish, vibrant and adventurous. If all the bags are lined up and you take one quick look at them, you will feel as if you are taking a trip across the world without the travel time. It’s hard to describe, but you will understand more when you are wearing them.

SS: Where did you come up with the concept?
NM: The Bagghy collection was born from the return of a trip to the United States. I brought with me the memories and the photos of the places that I visited. I thought of all others who had the same feeling as I did when they traveled and those who are not able to travel to these popular places. I began to work on the sample bag from the photos which I took to conceive the first print for the first purse.

SS: Where does your inspiration come from to bring a bag to life?
NM: My inspiration comes from fashionable women who want to make a statement. I also want my creations to be for every kind of woman; no matter where they are from and/or their financial status. I really want my bags to express diversity and appeal to fashionistas around the world.

SS: How do you decide what cities to feature on your bags?
NM: I choose the cities more visited and popular to the world. These cities are on most people’s bucket lists. If someone is lucky enough to visit any of them, they have great memories and eventually great conversations which they can share with their friends. Bagghy bags are “A Window into the World,” where people can feel like they have traveled to these places or remember a time when they did.  

SS: What is your most popular bag?
NM: Our best-seller bears our name; the “Bagghy” bag. It is the first bag I created which has the print of Time Square in black and white. It is a shopping bag which is comfortable and elegant. It’s an everyday bag.  

SS: Will you design a bag featuring the Magic City (Miami) and what might it look like?
NM: I think about it a lot! It’s not a simple task to come to a decision when it comes to creating the perfect print to represent Miami. I will continue to stir up my thoughts and decide on the perfect picture to add to my new collection.

SS: You don’t do just purses. Tell me about some of your other fabulous items?
NM: In addition to the bags, I’ve created a series of accessories: belts, shoes, watches, cell phone covers and wallets to complete the Bagghy look.

SS: Why are your bags different than what a South Florida fashionista would find at her local department store?
NM: Bagghy bags really fit the diversity of the people in Miami. Miami has a good blend of people from all over the world; they represent all the continents and that’s really why Bagghy is the perfect accessory for the South Florida fashionista.

SS: Your bags aren’t just for women. Tell me about your men’s line…
NM: I thought of the collection for some models. These bags are also practical, you can use them for work and for travel. The “Travel” bag can be used for the gym and “Gianfry” is spacious and can be used everyday for work or play. In addition, the belts and phone covers are unisex so men can use them as well.

SS: Describe your shop on Lincoln Road.
NM: Our shop on Lincoln Road has a variety of our bags. We were very selective in the bags that we placed in this store because we know that Miami Beach is a very popular tourist location and we want to ensure that we cater to the majority while keeping in mind our everyday local customer.

SS: Your bags are such great quality. How did you master their make-up?
NM: My parents have been making quality bags for over 50 years. I have seen and touched some of the world’s best collections. I must admit that my creations are a step ahead of these. I treat my creations like they are my babies. I’m involved in their making every step of the way, from the planning to the birth, every model, detail, texture and every color.  

SS: What is the most spectacular bag you’ve ever designed?
NM: My best bag to date is “Lady!” I made this bag thinking of a distinguished woman with excellence. One who is refined, chic and glamorous. This bag may be used during the day and also in the evening. It represents a strong, independent and determined woman who knows what she wants and exudes confidence.

One of those strong, independent, determined women who knows what she wants is Maxine Reyes. Maxine and Nicola met about four years ago when she was shopping at the original Bagghy store in Venice.

Maxine immediately fell in love with the beautiful bags and bought several. She then proceeded to ask Nicola: “Why aren’t you in Miami?” A few months later, Bagghy set-up shop on Lincoln Road in South Beach.

While I’ve traveled the globe (probably twice) I’ve never seen anything quite like a purse with the nostalgia of a postcard, until Bagghy. My favorite? The red double-decker bus driving down a London street. Not only is it one of my favorite places, my favorite person (my main squeeze) is from across the pond, so it’s sentimental in more ways than one.

Whether you’re a glamour girl on the go or just a fashionista who wants “A Window to the World,” owning a Baggy bag is the perfect way to celebrate fashion with or without a passport…and that’s why it’s one of my favorite things.

Shop the look at www.BAGGHY.com & www.BAGGHY.us
IG: @BagghyUSA
Twitter: @BagghyUSA
FB: @Bagghy Miami USA

Blog wardrobe provided by www.kokopalenki.com

Twitter: @ShireenSandoval
IG: @ShireenSandoval

Photographer: James Woodley
Twitter: @BritFloridian
IG: @BritFloridian

Hair & Make-up: Odette Hernandez
Twitter: @Odettehernandz

Assist: Jackie Kay
Blog ideas: Jackiekay211@yahoo.com

Editor: Matthew Auerbach

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