Thursday, February 15, 2018

Bird of Paradise

Location: Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo
I don't know about you but I have already been doing some warm weather vacation dreaming! I know it's only mid-February and we still have a month to go before spring blooms but I just can't stop thinking about sunny days, sun tan lines, palm trees, and flip flops!  What is your top travel destination for spring break?  Last year, we spent a week in Carmel and I recently stumbled across these pictures that I never posted about.  Remember when I was a brunette?


Birds of Paradise Tessa Cut Out Dress by All For Color
(currently sold out in this print but available in the following prints)

Blue White Tile - perfect for Santorini Greece
Garnet Black Tile  - Crash my Playa?
Blue Navy Tile - watch the Maui sunsets
Flamingo Tango - fun print for a Palm Beach getaway
Maroon Orange Tile - Morocco sunrises !
Purple Gold Tile - Palm Springs girls getaway?

I immediately fell in love with the Birds of Paradise print and I knew it would be a fun dress to take with me on vacation to Carmel!  Try not to be blinded by my sunless white legs!  It was spring break and the first time these legs were seeing sun!  By the way, if you love this bird of paradise print as much as I do, you can still pick it up in other styles such as these shorts, this darling cut out tank , and this criss cross tunic - check out the back!

If you have never been to Carmel by the Sea, you will be amazed at how much there is to see an do!  I love history and architecture so on this particular day, we visited the Carmel Mission which is a historic Roman Catholic mission church than opened in 1797.  A US National Historic Landmark, the mission is known for it's Spanish Colonial architecture and notable interments:

Juan Crespí (1721–1782), Spanish missionary and explorer
Fermín Lasuén (1736–1803), Spanish missionary and explorer
José Antonio Roméu, (1742? – 1792) Spanish governor of California
Junípero Serra (1713–1784), founder of the Spanish missions in California 

The Carmel Mission currently serves as an active parish church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Monterey.  In addition to its activity as a place of worship, Mission Carmel also hosts concerts, art exhibits, lectures and numerous other community events. 

I really enjoyed exploring the historic grounds and checking out the on site museums.  There are four specific museum galleries: the Harry Downie Museum, describing restoration efforts; the Munras Family Heritage Museum, describing the history of one of the most important area families; the Jo Mora Chapel Gallery, hosting rotating art exhibits as well as the monumental bronze and travertine cenotaph (1924) sculpted by Jo Mora; and the Convento Museum, which holds the cell Serra lived and died in, as well as interpretive exhibits.

This is one of those sun dresses that makes packing for vacation so easy!  Just grab a pair of sandals, a cute straw hat, some matching sunnies, and you have yourself the perfect outfit for a warm weather getaway!  You may want to bring a light cardigan or denim jacket for the evenings.  Carmel by the Sea can get a little chilly when the sun goes down or early in the morning when the marine fog layer covers the coast.  I brought my favorite straw hat that I bring on every spring/summer trip and I always have a few pairs of sandals to choose from.  Here are a few of  my summer favorites: 


If you've never had a chance to check out All For Color, you are going to thank me for the recommendation!  They specialize in bright and colorful apparel and lifestyle accessories for women of all ages.  If you are looking for something to bring on vacation but don't want to spend a lot of money but still get really great quality, I highly recommend checking them out!  I ended up buying several dresses, shorts, and tank tops that I literally wore all spring and summer long!  

If you haven't had a chance to sign up for my newsletter you can subscribe here!  It's a great way to connect with all of you about new posts, great sales you don't want to miss, Q&A on various fashion, beauty, home decor, and travel topics, and so much more!  Don't worry, I won't overcrowd your inbox!  Also, don't forget you can shop all of the looks from my blog on my shop page!




Thursday, February 8, 2018

Valentines Gift Guide for the Hostess

 I love to host gatherings with friends and family.  Whether it's a holiday soiree, summer barbecue, or just a casual get together, its fun to plan, shop, and decorate for the event!  My husband is the chef in our family and he usually takes care of the shopping and cooking.  I do all the planning and decorating and take care of cleaning too, so we make a pretty good team!  I like pay special attention to the details.  For example, picking up fresh cut flowers for the table or incorporating some of my favorite and treasured items like our champagne flutes from our wedding or my antique pie dishes.  I also like to bring out or shop for items that go along with the theme of the party - like canning jars for drinks at a summer barbecue or dishes/linens that reflect a spring theme for an April brunch.  

Valentines Day is just around the corner and many of you may be attending Valentines or Galentines Day parties or perhaps hosting one yourself. Williams Sonoma is currently having a sale up to 30% off on their Valentines favorites that you don't want to miss!  Make sure you pick up your favorites and if you plan on attending a V-Day soiree, get one for the hostess as well!  Shop some of my favorites below!

(Photos from Williams Sonoma)

How cute are these heart shaped white marble coasters, cheese board, and this cheese knives set?  I love the look of white marble and the heart shaped design adds a special romantic touch for Valentine's Day or any occasion!

I have been eyeing these dishes in the Firenze collection.  I adore the lace and loop detail which has a delicate and graceful feminine appeal.  They're also microwave, oven , and dishwasher safe which is a big plus for durability in my book!  Here are a few of of favorite pieces in the collection which really can be used any time of year!:

Cake Stand - put your favorite Valentines cupcakes on top!
Heart Carved Plate - a great plate for serving yummy appetizers!
Don't forget the dinner and appetizer plates which come in a set of four!

The red heart Valentine's Day collection is also a fun and more casual option!  You can find each piece here: plates, bowls, platter, espresso cups, and mugs

If you'e looking for some sugar to give your sweetheart or just some easy pre-made treats delivered to your doorstep before your party, you'll want to check out these cakes, candies, and chocolates!  Designed specifically for Valentines Day with no mess...and a lot of satisfied and envious guests!  Check out all of the Valentines Food favorites here! They are currently 20% off for a limited time only and you still have time to get them delivered before Valentines Day!

Last but not least, I always like to welcome my guests with beautiful seasonal wreaths on my front door and fresh flowers on my table and sprinkled throughout the house!  Here are a few of my favorites:

from left to right:
Pink Rose Heart Wreath
Bay Leaf Wreath
Coxcomb Heart Wreath
Lavender Heart Wreath
Shop more floral here!

Are you attending any Valentines or Galentines parties this weekend?  If you are, have a fun time and don't forget to pick up a hostess gift!  I never show up to a party empty handed!  Tell me all about your plans for Valentines Day and/or how you like to incorporate a little V-day love into your house.

If you haven't had a chance to sign up for my newsletter you can subscribe here!  It's a great way to connect with all of you about new posts, great sales you don't want to miss, Q&A on various fashion, beauty, home decor, and travel topics, and so much more!  Don't worry, I won't overcrowd your inbox!  Also, don't forget you can shop all of the looks from my blog on my shop page!

With Love,

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Winter Family Fun at the Resort at Squaw Creek - Part 2

Location: Squaw Valley, CA
I recently shared part 1 of our winter family vacation to the Resort at Squaw Creek near Lake Tahoe, CA.  If you didn't get a chance to read that post, you can check it out here.  Day 2 was all about exploring the resort and checking out all the family fun activities that were just footsteps from our room.  The second day started with an early morning visit to the resort's heated pool and whirlpool hot tubs!  My husband decided to sleep in while the boys and I rolled out of bed, popped on our swimsuits, and headed down to the steamy oasis under the stars before dawn.

My boys (Collin & Jack) relaxing in the jacuzzi with the early morning starry sky view of Squaw and Alpine in the background!

Me (mama) enjoying a relaxing soak as the morning got a little brighter!  I purchased this J.Crew red and white striped one piece swimsuit last summer! Unfortunately, this style and color is currently sold out but it was popular so they may bring it back this year!  I've included a few similar favorites from J.Crew in the product links below!  I have this one shoulder tie swimsuit (first one in product list below) in navy/ivory stripes and I love it!  I wore it on our summer cruise last year and got so many compliments!  It was a chilly 36 degrees out, but the hot tubs were set to a perfect temperature of 102 degrees!  I didn't want to get out!  It was a great way to start the morning!

The resort's year-round Oasis pool complex includes a large recreational heated pool and three whirlpool hot tubs to soak in after a long day skiing or snowshoeing.  If you plan to visit in the summer, you can also enjoy the plunge pool, a 120 foot waterslide, and a children's pool.  My husband and I are already planning a return trip this summer!  Swimming is always a fun activity for kids and for my boys that was no exception!  They bounced back and forth between the hot tubs and the pool and had a blast!  I was not as brave to jump in the pool - I was quite happy in my spot at the hot tub!

A pic of me in the hot tub using fun Snapchat filters!

It was time for breakfast and we decided to quickly dry off, throw on our robes and head back up to our room for a quick shower!  By the way, our room accommodations at the Resort at Squaw Creek were very nice and family friendly!  We had a one bedroom fireplace suite, a living room with a pull out sofa, a nice view of the snow capped mountains, and a small kitchen with a mini refrigerator, microwave, and stove top!  If you do lots of family travel, you know that having a kitchenette is a blessing.  We always travel with a small cooler to store my kids favorite drinks and  some wine/beer for mom and dad.  We also bring a bag of snacks for our road trip so we are prepared when hunger strikes!  I like to bring oatmeal and fruit for breakfast for a quick, easy and healthy option!  The kids like to have those microwavable mac and cheese bowls so microwaves are always a plus!  

Here are a few of our favorite snack ideas for family travel:

Microwave popcorn
Fruit - apples, pears, bananas, oranges, etc.
Bottled water and juice boxes
Wine/Beer for the adults! (make sure you bring an opener)
Microwavable mac and cheese bowls
tortilla chips and salsa
individual variety packs of cookies and chips 

Here are a few pics of our room I snapped!  It really felt like being at home!

The living room had a gorgeous view of the outdoors and a warm fireplace to cuddle up and watch movies or sip wine!

The resort offers free wifi which makes it easy to connect and get work done if needed or for the kids to enjoy Netflix and their favorite apps on their tablets!

We had a really nice view outside!  The windows offer plenty of natural light and privacy curtains at night!

The kitchen was unexpected!  It was nice to have all these amenities which helps save money on going out to eat every night!  We didn't cook anything on this trip but we heavily used the refrigerator, microwave, and utensils!     

Once we showered and finished with breakfast, we decided to take a hike and check out the surrounding areas around the resort. If you enjoy snowshoeing you will love Squaw Creek's beautiful meadow or you can head into the back country of Squaw Valley. The Nordic Center on site offers all winter equipment rentals including snowshoe and boot rentals, as well as guided snowshoe tours.  We just decided to take a leisurely hike with the kids!

This black and ivory buffalo plaid skirt from Talbots (similar options herehere, and here)

Outfit Details:
Black Merona snow boots from Target (similar herehere, and here)
Black Leggings (similar herehere, and here)
Black nylon coat (old) - (similar herehere, and here)
Cashmere Polka Dot Sweater (old) (similar herehere, and here)
Black faux Fur pom pom beanie (similar here, here, and here)
Hot pink fringe scarf from Old Navy (old) - (similar herehere, and here)
Mirror aviator sunglasses (similar herehere, and here)

Unfortunately, the dog sledding and snowmobiling tours were not available to book when we visited in early January.  The month of December was very dry and there was not enough snow.  This was disappointing for the kids as they were very much looking forward to this, but we found other fun family things to do such as sledding and ice skating which made up for it!

We took a short, easy, and flat hike that starts from the Resort at Squaw Creek off of hole #1 of the golf course.  This hike connects the resort with the Village at Squaw Valley (a great place for shopping, dining, and where you can catch the aerial tram to Squaw High Camp).  This hike is perfect for little ones and those who don't want to gain any elevation but want to get some exercise while taking in the beautiful views of the valley! 

After we got back from our hike, we decided to take the kids ice skating at the Resort's outdoor ice rink. The ice rink is open from 10 am - 10 pm daily and operates in three "sessions." It closes for an hour and a half in between sessions to refresh and clean the ice.We rented ice skates from the Nordic Center and let the kids have fun!  Chris and I sat and drank a hot toddy while the kids enjoyed whirling around on the ice.

Once their session was up, it was close to dinner and we were all starving,  We decided to go to Sandy's Pub which is one of the many restaurants located on site.  Sandy's is a convenient and casual sports bar dining option.  They offer tasty appetizers and delicious pub style meals to suit all preferences and ages.  They offer a wide selection of craft beer on tap, wine, and cocktails and we were able to catch the NFL playoff games on one of their six flat screen TV's while we were there!   I ordered the the shrimp tacos which were really delicious, Chris ordered the fully loaded nachos, my son Jack ordered the clam chowder (which he loved!), and my son Collin ordered spaghetti from the kids menu.  For more information about Sandy's pub and the full menu, please click here!

For dessert, the boys wanted to roast s'mores which you can order directly from Sandy's menu.  The kit comes complete with large marshmallows, a package of graham crackers, Hershey's chocolate bars, and the roasting skewers.  Just right outside the restaurant is a large outdoor fire pit overlooking the pool area.  It was a great place to warm up by the fire and chat with other visitors about their day and where they were from!  The boys had fun roasting their marshmallows and making their delicious treats.  It was a nice way to end a perfectly fun and relaxing day!  

Roasting marshmallows and making s'mores at the fire pit!  The best winter fun! 

Good Night!

We had a great time and would like to thank The Resort at Squaw Creek for such a wonderful experience!  We are definitely planning another trip soon so we can experience the dog sleds and snow mobiles!  Look for one more post coming soon to wrap up day three of our adventure to Squaw Valley!  Also, if you haven't had a chance to sign up for our newsletter you can subscribe here!  It's a great way to connect with all of you about new posts, great sales you don't want to miss, Q&A on various fashion, beauty, home decor, and travel topics, and so much more!  Don't worry, I won't overcrowd your inbox!  Also, don't forget you can shop all of the looks from San Francisco Bay Style on our shop page!

Thanks for Visiting!  




Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Winter Family Fun at the Resort at Squaw Creek

Location: Squaw Valley, CA
Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a joyous holiday and fun filled new year!  I can't believe it's already 2018!  Where did the year go?  Don't we all say that?  To some degree it's true!  Our busy lives can sometimes occupy so much of our precious time that some days and weeks feel like they fly by!  After the holidays were over, my family took a much needed break and vacation!  My birthday was January 3rd, so it was a good time to ring in the new year, celebrate another digit on my age, and enjoy some quality time with my family!  

We headed up to Squaw Valley, CA for a nice relaxing winter vacation.  We stayed at the beautiful Resort at Squaw Creek.  We drove up in the morning which is just about a 3.5 hour drive from San Francisco.  We checked in early and decided to take our boys out sledding with the new sleds they got from Santa for Christmas!  The weather was a balmy 63 degrees which was perfect for my "apres ski" look.


Apres Ski Sweater from Talbots (sold out online but may be available in stores - similar here, here, and here)
Ski Pants (old - similar here, here, and here)
Snow Boots from Target (similar here, here, and here)
Faux Fur pom pom beanie (similar here, here, and here)

 My kids were excited to get their feet in snow and we wasted no time venturing outside to check out the resort.  Just past the Squaw Creek ski lift which is at the back of the property, there is a beautiful and expansive open space which is perfect for snowshoeing, hiking, and sledding.  The views of Squaw Valley and the adjacent Squaw & Alpine mountain peaks were incredible!  Even though we had a dry December and the snow was not fresh powder, there was still plenty on the ground to have a fun time sledding and build a snowman (decorated below with fresh pine cones, pine needles, and sticks on the ground!  Pretty good job, don't you think?     

This was another snowman a family made while we were there.  I took a snapshot of it after they left.  They get the prize for making a tall snowman, but we all agreed he looked a little creepy.  What do you think?

Tip: if you live near Lake Tahoe and/or plan to visit with a young family, I highly recommend to bring your sleds.  They're lightweight and don't take up too much room in the back of the car and they provide hours of free entertainment!  If you are not able to bring your own sleds you can rent them from the Resort at Squaw Creek along with many other winter sports gear and accessories.  Family winter activities here include ski-in/ski-out access to Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows; a private ice rink; heated swimming pools; jacuzzis, 18 kilometers of cross-country skiing terrain; dog sledding; and so much more!  All these fun family activities are just a short walk from your guest room!  Unfortunately, there was not enough snow to go dog sledding when we were there in early January, but I promised my kids we would try to make another trip back later this winter to try that!

My son Jack enjoying his day sledding

up and down the hill they went!

Squaw Valley Olympic Village is directly across Squaw Creek and you can take a free shuttle there which runs every 15 minutes.  There is plenty to do there which I will include in an upcoming post!

Snowshoeing is a very popular activity in Squaw Valley!

The sun started to come out in the late afternoon and there really was no need for ski jackets!  It felt more like spring ski season than it did like winter but we were fine with that!  My husband and I found a spot at the bottom of the hill and watched the kids go up and down over and over again until they were exhausted!

My "Apres Ski" sweater was a present from my husband for Christmas.  I saw it in the Talbots catalog and told him I wanted it for our ski trip!  At this current time, they are completely sold out online but you may be lucky enough to still find it in stores if you have a Talbots that's close to you.  If not, here are a few other similar ski sweater options you might like!

I brought along my old black cargo ski pants because I love having extra pockets to hold things like sunscreen, my credit card and room key, cash, sunglasses, lip balm, and my kid's asthma inhaler!  This eliminates the need to carry around a big bag.  Although these pants are old, I found a few current similar options.  Also, my snow boots are from Target and they are so comfortable and durable for such a great price point!  I've included them in the shopping links below as well as a few other cute options you may like including my faux fur pom pom beanie!! 

We started getting pretty hungry so we decided to grab the sleds and head back to find something to eat and drink.  We were pretty tired from driving up that morning and sledding all day so we knew we wanted something quick and easy.  We stumbled upon the outdoor patio area where they served a variety of food and drinks.  The kids ordered a Roy Rogers and my husband and I tried the local brews on tap.  We order a basket of fries and cheeseburgers which hit the spot!  We relaxed by the fire place until dark and then headed up to our room to get in our pajamas, make plans for day 2, and go to bed a little early! 

My husband and I - we just celebrated our 20 year wedding anniversary!

I'm looking forward to sharing more details from our trip to Squaw Valley in my next post including more of the outfits I wore, family activities we did, where we ate, and more about our accommodations at the Resort at Squaw Creek!

Thank you for visiting!