With Valentine’s Day around the corner, a group of talented and creative Sonoma women decided to put together Valentine’s Day looks and include fashion and beauty ideas. Kelly Dolata of A Savvy Lifestyle asked me to join in the styling fun and of course I said yes, please!

A Savvy Lifestyle is a Wine Country lifestyle site, chock full of beautiful styling ideas, recommendations for local food, DIY projects, wine and travel, an events calendar and much more. Be sure to visit this beautiful blog. You are sure to be inspired!

Once the date was set for the shoot, I went right to work, carefully picking out my Valentine’s Day outfits. I chose outfits that I would wear on a date – day or night – and that fit my Wine Country lifestyle.

The morning of the shoot, I packed up my clothes and headed to the studio of Sonoma makeup artist, Beautycounter consultant and hairstylist Jenna Maze, who did my hair and makeup for the shoot.

We started by going through my outfits so Jenna could strategize my makeup and hair styles. Our friend and professional photographer Sarah Deragon of Sarah Deragon Photography took photos of the day from start to finish.

Jenna got right to work with my first look, which included a bright red tunic. Jenna decided this first makeup look would be my lightest. She would build from there, eventually ending up with a smokey eye and dark lip by the time we got to the final outfit.

Jenna used products from Beautycounter. This was my first experience with this well-known brand. I was excited to try it as I have heard so many great things about this makeup and skincare line, namely that it is verified by EWG which means I can feel good about using it.

For foundation, Jenna used two different shades of Tint Skin Foundation to match my skin tone: Linen and Sand. For my brown spots and under-eye circles, she applied the Touchup Skin Concealer Pen in Medium – 1. This concealer has a click brush, making application a breeze. I love the coverage both products gave me.

Jenna used the new Desert Sunrise Palatte on my cheeks and eyes, along with a navy blue liner and medium Brow Pencil. For my first outfit, she went with a red lip and applied Lip Sheer in Scarlet and Lip Gloss in Ruby. I loved my makeup look!

Once my hair and makeup were photo ready, we headed to Cornerstone Sonoma. We had a little cottage where I could change outfits, Jenna could freshen up and re-style my hair and makeup, and we could style gorgeous jewelry from BLACK & BROMSTAD to go with my looks. Lucky me!

BLACK & BROMSTAD, a personal jewelry concierge offering a high-level of customer service for luxury jewelry from high-end designers, brought a selection of pieces I could use to style my outfits. Kirsty Black and Nicole Bromstad have many years in the luxury jewelry and styling businesses. They teamed up to provide a specialized jewelry buying experience for their customers, offering personal consultations to help you find the pieces perfect for you or someone you love. To schedule an appointment, email Nicole at [email protected]. All the jewelry I am wearing is from BLACK & BROMSTAD.

Now for my Valentine’s Day outfits!

For my first look, I wore the most popular Valentine’s Day color, red!

I made my red high-low tunic the star of the show and styled it simply with black ponte leggings.

I wore black suede block-heel pumps with two delicate ankle straps (same shoe but in patent leather for spring) and carried my Louis Vuitton clutch.

Kirsty and Nicole suggested I wear a long gold necklace with a variety of gold, rose gold and diamond pendants along with some gorgeous diamond and gold earrings.

For my second look, we stopped by Chateau Sonoma at Cornerstone for a few photos. Chateau Sonoma is one of my very favorite Wine Country boutiques and has the most beautiful home decor, furniture, French antiques, home accessories and more. It’s my go-to when shopping for a special gift.

In this Valentine’s Day look, I bared a little bit of shoulder in a navy blue dress with shoulder cut-outs. I hope this trend sticks around for awhile because it’s an easy way to feel daring and playful without showing too much skin.

My Ralph Lauren Cold Shoulder dress is no longer available but I found one similar.

BLACK & BROMSTAD styled me with a Tahitian pearl necklace with a diamond-crusted closure. Such a gorgeous necklace!

For my third look, we stopped by Prohibition Spirits, a hip and fun distillery tasting room in Cornerstone Sonoma, to take some photos. I chose lace this time. Incorporating lace into your look for Valentine’s Day – for a casual daytime look or for a night time outfit – will add romance and femininity. I wore a black Lace top with bell sleeves with wide-legged jeans and black pumps.

BLACK & BROMSTAD chose large diamond hoops for me to wear so Jenna gave me a loose up-do to show them off. I also wore a delicate single diamond pendant necklace.

Jenna darkened my eye makeup a bit and added Lip Sheer in Twig, Lip Gloss in Fig.

My last look works for a romantic Valentine’s day picnic or a day spent exploring with my sweetheart. I wore a white Easy Going Sweater with a white camisole underneath and girlfriend jeans. For footwear, I went for flat and comfortable, yet stylish in a pair of gray suede booties. A playful ponytail styled by Jenna made my look fun and flirty.

My sweater had a swath of silver on it so I wore smaller diamond and platinum hoops with this final look.

Valentine’s Day is in winter after all, so a little extra layering is a must in Wine Country this time of year. This luxurious Peruvian Alpaca wool coat, with a shorter inside jacket and high neck, was just what I needed to stay warm.

With the high neck, Jenna thought a bun would be the best look. And who doesn’t love a good bun?

What a fun and fashionable day!

Thank you to Kelly and Emily of A Savvy Lifestyle, Sarah Deragon of Portraits to the People, Jenna Maze and Kirsty and Nicole of BLACK & BROMSTAD.

What a treat and an honor to collaborate with all of you!

What will you be wearing on Valentine’s Day?


My New Skin Care Regimen 

I turn 50 next year – eek! – and have been noticing more redness, periodic breakouts, stubborn brown spots, and the overall discoloration of my aging skin and I’d like to do something about these issues, preferably before the big 5-0!.

So when my friend Karen Borgfeldt, clinical esthetician and owner of Hello Beautiful Skin in Santa Rosa, asked me to review her Face Fitness program earlier this fall, I was eager to try it. This six-week program includes skin peels, graduating in strength, and concludes with a deep pore-cleaning facial.

I took photos before my first session in mid-September, then a brand new photo today. Pardon my stone-faced expression. I find non-smiling photos show my skin best.

My redness and irritation has subsided since September. My skin looks and feels smoother too with fewer red spots. And my dark circles look lighter even though I only had 4 hours of sleep last night! I also don’t feel like i need to pile on the foundation in order to make my skin look even.

Benefits of Peels: 

During the course of this program, I was able to move quickly from a light peel to a much stronger peel in six weeks. That’s why Karen calls this Face Fitness. This method gradually increases the strength of the peels and sort of toughens up your skin along the way. It allowed my skin to reap the benefits of the peel without leaving me burned, red and peeling. And the skin care products I use, like the Vitamin C serum Karen gave me, work better and more efficiently because the dead skin has been sloughed away.

Another benefit to peels is that they can be layered. Karen can choose to use a gentle peel on a delicate area, then spot treat with a stronger peel elsewhere.

Since I started Face Fitness, my skin has had fewer breakouts, is more evenly toned and less red. And it has a bit of a glow to it, thanks to the exfoliation. It feels softer and I don’t find myself piling on layers of foundation to achieve the appearance of even skin tone.

For those of you who don’t live in or near Sonoma County and can’t see Karen yourself, she has generously offered to share some of her skin care advice with us.

Karen’s Skin Care Advice

Assess Your Products:

Karen asked me to gather up my skin care products and bring them to her. I had more than I thought! I was using all the products you see on the left and occasionally the ones on the right. Seeing all my products together like that made me realize that my skin care routine made no sense. I had no plan, no consistency and my skin was confused and irritated. Karen gave me a simple, straightforward daily skin care regimen with fewer products. But before she did, she wanted to examine my skin.

Seek out a Professional:

With my redness, uneven tone and little bumps, Karen suggested a customized Face Fitness Program that would calm my skin and decrease the redness. Skinworx is the skin care line Karen recommended for me. It’s a professional line, only available through licensed estheticians.

Karen numbered my containers so I would be sure to know the order they needed to go on. My daytime regimen starts with a gentle face wash and a Soothing Toner. Next I apply a calming serum followed by Brightening Crème Illuminating moisturizer. And for the final layer, a lightly tinted Daily Replenishing sunscreen with SPF 30. My evening routine is similar except I skip the sunscreen.

Start Simple and Add Products:

Karen wanted to get me used to my new routine for awhile. So rather than inundate me and with a multitude of products we began with the basics, then added the Vitamin C and Vitamin K serums for dark circles later on. She also gave me a spot treatment, seen here in the middle, to treat new breakouts.

Don’t Rush to Rinse:

For a long time I couldn’t get my face clean enough, as though I had a film on my skin. Karen asked me how long I left my cleanser on. I don’t, really. I just rub it on real quick, then rinse. Karen told me to leave the soap on longer – lather it up and brush my teeth or something for a couple of minutes while it sits on my skin. This moistens and loosens up dead skin cells and makeup, leaving my skin fresh and clean.

Use a Konjac Sponge:

If you want to exfoliate your skin but you don’t want to use harsh scrubs try a konjac sponge. They are gentle enough to use daily and a great natural way to exfoliate your skin. Just wet the sponge, then when it has softened, use it to slough away dry, dead skin cells. Hang to dry between uses.

Remove Layers of Makeup a Different Way:

My favorite tip from Karen is for makeup removal. She gave me a microfiber washcloth I wet and use to wipe off makeup before I wash my face. It makes getting my skin clean so much easier. Simply wash the cloth after use with soap, then rinse and hang dry.

The New Plan

Once my six week Face Fitness Program concluded, I decided to sign up for a membership with Hello Beautiful Skin; sort of a maintenance plan for my skin that will take me into my 50s.

I have already scheduled peels every four weeks for an entire year. Every several months, Karen will add in a pore-cleaning facial. This means I will have a consistent, affordable and easy to follow skin care program as I head toward 50!

Contact Karen at (707) 539-7546 or visit her website for more information.

Karen not only caters to those of us with aging skin but she offers programs for teens too. In fact she helped some of my friends’ teenaged children overcome acne issues with great results.

Have you ever had a peel?

Do you have a consistent skin care regimen?

Make it a rich day!



Disclosure: I had the Face Fitness Program from Hello Beautiful Skin in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always.