Are you headed to #RODEOHOUSTON, but not sure what to wear? We’ve got you covered with the top western trends happening in 2017!

Fringe: Who doesn’t love a good bit of fringe? It’s so IN right now, it’s easy to overkill. Be wary of wearing too much at one time; if your bag has fringe, maybe leave the fringe skirt in the closet for one night and vice versa.

** photo creds to

Flare: Bell-bottoms are BACK! This isn’t a joke, either. Now, this isn’t the 70’s bell look that looks as though you may take flight … just a touch of flare around the bottom half of the pant is perfect. Right along with flare in the bottoms, flared sleeves and tops are in, too! Gone is the skin- tight, suck it in look – it’s more comfy and cute.

*** photo creds to

Leather: This is a no- brainer, right? Leather is always generally associated with the western look, and rightfully so – but it’s important to remember that a little leather goes an extremely long way. Maybe leave your leather pants at home if you’re planning to don the pleather top – compromise, you know? A simple way to get that leather fix is a cute, simple leather jacket to spice up your low – pro outfit!

** photo creds to

Denim: We know what you’re thinking – of course, I’d wear jeans to the rodeo… but there is more to denim than just your favorite pair of Wranglers! Denim shirts are IN right now; not only that, but denim on denim is very hip right now, too. It might sound like something you wouldn’t think of paring together, but with the right top and shoes, it’s easy to rock, and so trendy.

*** photo creds to

The boho gypsy look with a touch of vintage has made its way into western fashion in full- force! Of course, you can never go wrong with dusting that old pair of boots off and scooting around for an evening watching the cowboys and performers on the rotating stage! Be sure to stop by the shops while you’re here and pop into our booth!


Rodeo time is such a large time in Texas and Laura Lee Designs, Inc. gets to take part in the biggest rodeo in not only the state itself, but also the world! How cool is that? Come visit LLD in booth #B3048!

For those of you that can’t make it down to Houston, Texas – we’d like to virtually bring it to you the best that we can. To kick things off, let’s learn about HLSR!

– Since the first show in the 1930’s, over $40 million dollars have been committed to the youth through scholarships.

– Volunteers make the organization what it is; there are over 30,000 men and women who put in countless hours.

– For many rodeo contestants, getting an opportunity to be apart of HLSR is a high point in their careers.

– The rotating stage that takes the dirt every night was once only seen at HLSR and only taken by those asked to perform.

– On an average day, there are anywhere from 60,000 – 75,000 people on the grounds at once. Record days will see over 100,000!

For some, it’s hard to imagine that many events have the potential to generate that much foot traffic on any given day, but we are here to tell you that’s the case during rodeo time in Houston, Texas.

Through the course of the next twenty days, we plan to keep you updated on all things

#RODEOHOUSTON – If you’re in town, come by and see what the big deal is! We want to see how you make the experience yours!


Ever wonder about the creator of Laura Lee Designs handbags? Meet, Laura Lee, the visionary behind the one-of-a-kind handbags! Read on about her amazing journey from the corporate world to owning her own business! 


Laura Lee did not set out to design purses. She never went to school for that.

Following graduation and degrees in hand, she headed for the corporate life where she held marketing positions with companies including Nike, Apple, American Express, and Ralph Lauren. The corporate world was her comfort zone and all she really knew.

It was at Apple that the marketing bug kicked in. She worked to develop, improve, and distribute Apple’s “Power Book” product. There she honed the skill of brand integrity. She developed an appreciation for strong branding and began to notice it everywhere.

In her spare time Laura Lee spent time running and felt particularly inspired by the Nike Just Do It philosophy… so much so that she wrote a letter to Phil Knight and Runner’s World telling them how the Nike philosophy motivated her to become a better athlete. Laura Lee’s moving letter was published by Runner’s World and Nike employed her as a wear tester. Nike sent her pre-release products, and she would wear the merchandise and report on its quality. Eventually she began working at Nike in global forecasting, a position that meant overseas travel. It was during this time that she caught the international bug.

“Don’t live the ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ life wondering what you could have done.”

Eventually she settled in Hong Kong employed by PCCW, Asia’s leading Communications Corporation. At PCCW she was responsible for developing and implementing international marketing initiatives with companies such as Microsoft, Disney, AOL Time Warner, Hewlett Packard, and Oracle.

Laura Lee grew up in Southern California which influenced her love for athletics. An avid runner and triathlete, Laura Lee remains active and loves to get outdoors for some training. But for all she has done, her biggest influences came from her Mother and Grandmother. Her Mother always encouraged her to make the impossible possible, and her Grandmother’s quote has always stayed with her: “Don’t live the ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’ life.” It means don’t be afraid to do something out of the ordinary.

Really, it’s quite simple: Do what you love and the rest will follow. Grandma said it best.



I am a firm BELIEVER that people come into your life for a reason. And now I am so grateful to know Aida Murad! After just minutes of meeting her, I was captured by her positive energy and amazing story. Her unique outlook on life is something to be admired. Read on as she shares her drive and inspiration! 

“1+1=3 ….There is always something more you can squeeze in your day.” ~Aida


(Photo credit: Megan Won)

LL: Can you explain what social entrepreneurship is and what your goals are for 2017?

AM: Social entrepreneurship is simply the marriage of business and positive social impact.

My mission in life is to keep finding ways to improve and expand myself where I remove any internal thoughts on “Who do you think you are to do this?” and replace it with “Who are you not to do this?”

With this perspective my goals for 2017 are:

  • Get back to full health recovery hopefully through honoring my body. I haven’t been able to run for 2 years and I hope to do so by the end of the year (wish me luck 🙂 )
  • Explore more ways to creatively use my art such as turning my art into wearable fashion; covers of notebooks; prints; pillowcases. Who knows what else I’ll discover along the journey!
  • Have greater social impact through the organization I work at, FHI 360, a social enterprise that takes a “360” holistic approach to solving the world’s complex development challenges. My role is in developing external partnerships and I aim to develop more impactful and meaningful partnerships.


LL: What made you decide to tell your story?

AM: Being diagnosed with Arthritis in 2011 and going from having full health to an inability to do ordinary things such as walk, I faced intense physical, mental and emotional pain. But funny enough, this pain has freed me of a deeper pain – the pain of failing. In the beginning, I felt like I had lost everything because I couldn’t move but it gave me the chance to reinvent myself for the better and to let go of that fear. Ultimately, this whole experience made me thankful for the health I had taken for granted and made me realize that God has given me this limited time on Earth and I plan to make it amazing, memorable and oh so worth it!


LL:What is the inspiration behind your paintings?

AM: I lost the ability to use my hands with ease due to arthritis. At first I felt hopeless. But then I decided to make the best of a bad situation by turning to painting as a way of celebrating my fingers. Art has always been a passion of mine but I had a tendency to silence it due to my fear of failing and fear of being judged as “untalented.”

These paintings are the proof that I am not limited by my arthritis. It empowers me to inspire others who experience all kinds of limitations – physical or mental. Through this creative space, I want to help people express themselves and inspire the “can do” rather than “can’t do” attitude because beauty can come out of pain when you are able to change your perspective. I hope you enjoy my art and feel inspired to do something you’ve always wanted to do but never quite got to yet. Today is your day.


LL:Which is your favorite painting and why?

AM: The painting titled Hope (below) is my favorite. It was the first large piece I painted and is about rebuilding yourself one dot at a time. The colors blue and white symbolize purity, dedication and infinity.

(Photo credit: Hayde FitzPatrick)

LL: As a motivational speaker, what is the one ‘take away’ you want people to hear?

AM: Every thought, word and action takes you either one step closer or farther from your dream. Pay attention to them because they are what open or close your opportunities.

Life will challenge you in many different ways but with constant focus, persistence, passion and most importantly love you can and will make what seems “impossible” possible. Let the world watch you do amazing things!


LL: As a new Contributor to the Hungry Lobbyist, premier food website, what are you most excited about to discover in the DC food scene? And what is one food you can’t live without?

AM:I live for food. Eating and the experience of dining out are my favorite activities to do. I’m mostly excited to discover unique and bold flavors and learn about the inspiration behind the delicious dishes from the Chefs. I’ll be on the hunt for great restaurants with a glutenfree perspective so make sure to follow my column in The Hungry Lobbyist for recommendations!
As for a food I can’t live without… its definitely chocolate. I wake up and sleep to chocolate! If you have any favorite made in DC chocolates, please do share them with me!

For more on Aida’s story check out her website here!

Need more motivation? Connect with Aida! Facebook / InstagramTwitter / LinkedIn

Aida’s Bio

Aida Murad is a Palestinian-Jordanian/American currently living in Washington DC. She’s a social entrepreneur, artist, motivational speaker and food critic. Most importantly she’s a life-long learner, thinker and aims to live a meaningful and impactful life.

She was diagnosed with Arthritis in 2011 and since then she has been fueled to turn “bad” situations into beautiful ones that help expand herself and give back to the community.

(Photo credit: Megan Won)

(Photo credit: Hayde FitzPatrick)

(Photo credit: Megan Won)

(Photo credit: Hayde FitzPatrick)


My personal sense of craving ‘all things unique’ happened while living abroad. Currently a transplant to Washington D.C., I have a curiosity that has reached all aspects of my life. From choosing color combinations of designs, leathers and beads for the collection, fun/crazy ‘one-off’ outfits, to gaining and learning insights from amazing women, thought-leaders and role models that have ‘Sparkling (Unique) Features’ of their own.
Along with Laura Lee Designs, these musings are a personal look at the way I see and appreciate the distinctive and exceptional world we live in.
And remember: Be You. Be Yourself. There really is know one else like you!
Laura Lee/LL