On Sundays We Shop

When I woke up this morning, I was in no mood to shop, which is strange because I’m always in the mood to shop. That’s 90% of the reason I have a job. So I can SHOP! But this morning was different. I had discovered that one of my accounts had been compromised. Apparently someone opened up a pay pal with my chase card and purchased a few hundred dollars worth of who knows what. Shout out to Chase for catching it, but also, screw you Chase for being the first person I have to talk to on a Sunday morning.

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Anyways, I couldn’t let these nameless thieves take shopping away from me, so I got dressed and met up with my dear friend and fellow restaurant industry babe, Stefanie Surovec. We had brunch at one of my favorite places to dine in Santa Rosa, Spinster Sisters. Brunch was spent discussing major world issues; gossip, relationships, bargain shopping. The usual. Stefanie had invited me to a private shopping event that day. I had no idea what I was tagging along to. When she said “trunk sale,” I was expected a high class garage sale in someone’s yard with funky lamps, art and bubbly. (Clarification-An event on a Sunday in Wine Country without sparkling wine doesn’t exist. Seriously never happens.)  What I walked into was the the gorgeous home of Holly Ratliff, owner of Nor Cal Boho Chic, an online store where you can find one of a kind, handmade goods from Sonoma County, CA.

Holly had transformed her home into a huge pop up shop, supporting local retail brands owned by talented and business savvy women of all ages. I was in shopping addict heaven! I was swimming in small boutique shops with some of the cutest collections of clothing I’ve seen in a long time, hair care brands, jewelers, swimwear and skin care. Holly had hired a very handsome bartender to serve wine and the kitchen was decked out in horderves. It took me about 5 seconds to completely forget about the whole Chase credit card thing. “It’s fine,” I told myself, “this is why I have more than one card.”

IMG_9043I saw some familiar faces including, Sue Navarra, owner of Sunkissed by Sunsations. Sue is the spray tan queen of Santa Rosa and has a knack for carrying the sexiest swim wear out there. Sue brought a gorgeous model with her to walk the party in some of her pieces. If you are looking for one of a kind swimwear and summer attire, as well as a killer spray tan, visit Sue at Sunkissed by Sunsations, or Great Sunsations.

Stefanie and I spent most of our time and money with the girls at Delicious Boutique. Liz and Salma, owners of the boutique were joined by their manager, Samantha. These ladies are so extremely stylish and have such a deep understanding of classic, yet trendy clothing that is comfortable and high quality. Their store is located in Rohnert Park, Ca. I picked myself up an adorable, reversible, tie dye pencil skirt by Michael Stars and Stef got a backless tee. I’m looking forward to visiting the store and seeing what else they are carrying right now.

Deanna Thompson, one of my favorite women that I met today, owns Haute52, a Designer Retail Consignment shop. Holly’s spread of handbags was more than impressive. You can visit Holly’s site to shop and consign your own designer items. Holly’s keen sense of entrepreneurship has definitely rubbed off on her twelve year old daughter Bobbie, who had a booth of her own. Bobbie Thompson is the owner of Daisies and Toast, organic skincare essentials. Bobbie makes her own decorative soaps, body scrubs, lip balms and more. Her products are sold exclusively at Nor Cal Boho Chic. Mother Holly said, ” I told Bobbie if she wants new Rainbow flip flops and new Nikes, you have to figure out how to make your own money.” Holly gave her daughter a business loan to buy the products she needed to start Daises and Toast and Bobbie is responsible for paying her back and putting 30% of her profits in a savings account for the future. I loved this story because it reminded me of my childhood, and how my parents started teaching me business lessons before I could ride a bike.

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Other vendors at the event included: Michelle Neal Jewelry and Pisces Productions. I was so impressed with Holly’s work and how much time, energy and money she puts into this event. It’s a beautiful thing to see all these women, who have started their own businesses, succeeding at doing something they love and teaching future generations that being a successful businesswoman takes blood, sweat and tears, but is worth every second of it. Cheers to you, ladies!

I can’t wait until next year.

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I’ll Never Grow Old

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Most days I have a grumpy old man, “back in my day” attitude about my generations’ taste in…well mostly everything, but especially music. The past decade has been scary and disappointing for me in regards to what was considered popular music, and I truly thought all hope was lost for the future.

Let me explain. Pop.

Never mind, no need to explain that one. We all know it sucks and is void of quality.

And I don’t want to get into the techno argument because I’ve had it a million times with my Dj friends who have tried to convince me that people who construct sounds on their lap top and make techno music have an equivalent amount of musical talent as someone who shreds on the guitar or belts ballads like Whitney. We will never agree.

However, over the past few years, I have observed an increase of young fans that are getting into Americana, Folk, Bluegrass and good ole, well written singer/songwriter music. This makes me happier than I can even explain.

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I’ve been going to music festivals with my dad since I was old enough to stand on my own two feet and dance. It’s become our tradition, and now every summer we have our own little musical adventure. We camp, drink, jam, dance and discover new music to get us through the year until its time to return again. The last few years have been all about Strawberry Music Festival. We’ve made friends we only see at this festival, but stay in touch with all year. I’ve met musicians that have changed my life and opened my world to music I would have never discovered on my own.

Most recently, I took my dad to BottleRock Music Festival in Napa, CA. He hadn’t seen Robert Plant perform since the 70’s and I felt so lucky to have shared the experience with him.

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The thing that made me so happy about this festival was the size of the crowds and amount of fans that came out to see bands like the Avett Brothers and Brothers Comatose. And these “kids,” (aka people my age and younger) had as much energy and excitement as crowds I’ve seen at Raves, listening to horrible pop, techno and offensive rap. They knew all the lyrics, they jumped up and down and cheered for killer fiddle solos. It was moving. It restored my faith in them and their taste.

When Brother’s Comatose performed “I’ll never grow old,” I witnessed a whole new generation of modern day peaceful hippy kids, dancing around in circles and holding their hands up high singing “I’ll never grow old,” along with the band over and over again. I felt less old than I usually do at these big festivals because it actually felt like I was at Strawberry. I felt like I could relate to everyone there, like we all belonged there together.

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It could be just wishful thinking, but I’d like to think that this generation isn’t getting enough out of techno, MDMA and repetitive lyrics about partying all the time anymore. I think music is evolving along with the rest of the world. Minds are opening slowly, but they’re opening, and that’s enough for me.

I could go on and on with a list of bands that I love but I’ll try and just focus on the best and most influential.

The Steeldrivers

The Avett Brothers

The Brothers Comatose

Patty Griffin

The California Honeydrops

Audra Mae

Alabama Shakes

Aubrey Debauchery

Chris Stapelton

Punch Brothers

Gary Clark Jr.

Lake Street Dive

The Easy Leaves

E Minor and the Dirty Diamonds

The Lone Bellow

The Record Company

Carolina Chocolate Drops

The Jompson Brothers

Devil Makes Three

Trampled by Turtles

If you have any interest in this type of music at all, I can promise you this list will convert you completely. These are bands that are current, making music for today’s generation, with old school roots. Enjoy!

Dress To Kill: Innovation Salon

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I am not a model. I do not get paid to wear clothes, rep brands, or take photos. I have, however, been blessed with opportunities to participate in fashion shows, films, TV shows, stage productions, concerts and photo shoots for fun and I love doing it!

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 I have the most creative and passionate community of friends and when we all bring our passions to the table together, we can make magical things happen. My friends are artists, musicians, stylists, designers, DJ’s, philanthropists, photographers, actors, producers, directors, and writers. When one of us needs the other for an event of any kind, we are all more than happy to participate. We support each other’s craft and have a deep understanding that when we help one another, we are helping ourselves.

On Friday, the Team at Innovation Salon threw and anniversary party and fashion show and asked me to be a model. I love doing this kind of stuff because it’s laid back, fun, I get to meet new people and wear amazing clothes that I wouldn’t normally pick out

for myself. The show featured designers and jewelers from San Francisco and Sonoma County. Wines were provided by Wilson Winery and our local start artist, Jared Powell did a live painting. Click Here to contact Jared about his art and availability.

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I am, in no way, a veteran of the catwalk, but it was not my first rodeo either. I’ve strutted my stuff before, and I’ve also been behind the scenes, helping models change and get ready. I’ve had my hair and makeup done by professionals countless times, and I’ve also been the stylist myself. As long as I get to be a part of the action in some way, I’m happy.

 What I love most about the fashion shows I’ve been apart of, are the range of ages, body types and cultures of the models I’ve worked with. A fashion show is supposed to highlight the designers’ vision and not every designer makes clothes for skinny, six-foot tall professional models. A lot of them are making clothes for people of all walks of life. Friday’s show included moms, teens, fashionistas, Harley riders, businesswomen, musicians and more.

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I got involved in this project through my dearest friend, stylist and hair+makeup genius, Nicolette LaFranchi. Her and I met years ago through the amazing community of talented folk we both belong to.

11010006_10153363747844680_1524201563524191691_oMutual friends of ours were throwing art shows and concerts together and we have been friends ever since. Nicolette and her mother Terri run Innovation Salon in Santa Rosa, Ca. Not only are they both cosmetology queens, they are killer businesswomen with more heart and drive than most people I know.

The first featured designer was Thilde Weems at Belle Neptune. Thilde’s prints are “original designs from the artist’s photography, as well as from Nasa, and are placed into the garment in such a way  to complement a woman’s anatomy. The original designs are eye catching and memorable.” Thilde was so easy to work with. She chose the perfect pieces for each of the models and assisted behind the scenes for all three other designers. What a team player! Click above to find out more about her designs and upcoming shows.

The second designer to grace the red carpet was Esther Jocelyne Fame of Fantabela. Esther’s line is inspired from her West African roots and upbringing in Camaroon. Fantabela is a fair trade company, and her goal is to provide artisans with a substantial source of income that will benefit them as well as the communities they live in.

LiveLoveModa was founded by Kiely Hernandez. Her mission behind the brand is to provide customers with an online fashion boutique where they can find trendy, versatile pieces at budget friendly prices.

Last but not least was Sheila Ash, Fashion Stylist and InnKeeper at Noe’s Nest. Meeting Sheila was an unforgettable experience because she is an unforgettable woman. Not only is she a vintage stylist, collector and event planner, she’s a writer and Innkeeper at Noe’s Nest in San Francisco. http://www.noesnest.com

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On top of the gorgeous clothes we got to wear, we also got to wear some killer jewels, provided by some more amazing women. Check out their jewels at:

SparklebyResh & Jam Jar

Thank you to all the Designers, to Terri and Nicolette for making us look beautiful and fierce, to the photographers and supporters that came!

Amazing photos taken by-Michael More-https://www.facebook.com/pureinfodesign