During college, I logged a few years working at the local Best Buy, so you could say that I’m intimately familiar with the ins and outs of the holiday shopping season. We all know about the first two phases – Black Friday, followed by regular gift shopping – but the third is less talked-about. During my time in the retail trenches, we called it the Gift Card Apocalypse.

It’s the last month of the year, and that means the last round of birthdays for 2012 as well. I have many friends who celebrate their birthdays in December (including our very own Amanda) and I’ve always admired their birthstone, blue topaz, because it’s feminine and looks good on everyone. The light blue stone shines in the sun but stands brilliantly on its own as well.

The holidays are great for so many and varied reasons. The food (unless you’re on a diet), the family time (unless your relatives are crazypants), the fun holiday cocktails (unless you’re in AA) – it’s all so fun! (Maybe.) Of course, around here, we know at least one thing about the holiday’s that’s fun without caveat or exception: the sparkly little handbags that you get to carry to holiday parties from now until New Year’s.

Every four years, Americans have the privilege to get out and vote for whom they believe should be their president. We never delve into the realm of politics here, but we do hope you all take the opportunity to vote. If you didn’t go yet, stop by your polling place after work to cast your vote.

To get everyone in the American spirit, we rounded up the best American designer bags in red, white, and blue.

This is probably the fastest moving year of my life or so it seems. November has arrived and that means the Holidays are upon us. Every month I feel like I say the same thing, but really, how did this happen? We kick off each month with a birthday gift guide and though November and December birthdays may get lost in the holiday mix, we haven’t forgotten about you November birthday babies.

Some of our absolute favorite designers are also the most difficult to shop, whether you’re online or in-store. It’s hard to talk so much about Hermes and Chanel while not always having a place to tell you where to track down a bag of your own. The good news is our friends at Rue La La constantly update their site with some of the best bags available.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I typically don’t dress up anymore, but I love decorating our apartment and of course eating all the candy (ok that is my favorite part). This year, I have costumes for Vlad and I to put on when we hand out candy to our trick-or-treaters.

The only thing I’m still trying to figure out is which bag I will carry on Halloween to show my spirit.

Hey October babies, this is your month! And here I am trying to put together the best opal bags as birthday ideas, but it’s tough. Really tough. Opal is a stone that changes color in light and glimmers and shines non-stop, which makes finding any type of handbag to coincide quite difficult. When I started to think about it, I began wishing that more designers would make bags that had flecks of color that could shine randomly.

We already told you that oxblood is the new black for fall, and everyone is continuing to talk about the color burgundy. I can’t stop obsessing – it’s just such a rich, lush color that goes with practically everything. Want to wear blacks with it? Great. How about if you love brown colors? Perfect. This is a color that gives life to your wardrobe and complements so many different ensembles, which is why we are giving it its second major feature – one wasn’t enough.

If you’re a regular PurseBlog reader, you know that Megs, Hilary and I all have really different, distinct tastes in accessories and clothing. Megs tends to lean toward clothes with a hippie vibe, Hilary likes clean-lined, modern neutrals and I like lots of industrial black mixed with occasional bold prints and colors. Somehow, all three of us find a lot to love at British retailer AllSaints, which has a location in Soho that we all visit semi-religiously.

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