Lately I have been loving – and buying – dresses. Maybe I have been wearing jeans too often and for too long. Or perhaps I am simply ready to expand my fashion horizons and get in touch with my feminine side. Whatever the reason, I have more dresses in my closet now than I ever have. And I actually wear them!

While my husband, Bill, was fighting the Valley Fire last month my stepdaughter and I spent a day together. First we dropped off several bags of items we purchased for the fire victims. A friend organized a big collection drive and we more than happy to contribute some necessities. Afterward, we decided to grab a light bite to eat then do a little shopping. It had been such a long time since Tori and  did girly things together, just the two of us.

Tori asked if we could stop off at Bella Vita. Janis, the owner and my friend, used to have a shop here in our tiny village of Kenwood. If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time you may remember I was in a fashion show for Janis. Back then, her shop carried mostly vintage and consignment clothing and accessories. She has moved to the plaza in Sonoma and now carries a variety of new clothing from all sorts of designers.

From mid-century ladylike dresses (think Mad Men) to Victorian-style lace frocks (think Downton Abbey), and even Boho Chic, Janis has something for every fashion-lovers’ taste and style.

Tori and I had such fun trying on clothes. We must have tried on 20 things each, at least! I tend to favor the Boho look and when I came upon this lace Boho dress, I fell instantly in love. There is something so flirty, wearable and sweet about this dress. I had to have it!


It’s sheer so you need to wear something underneath.  I tried on several different tank dresses before deciding on one just below the knee in a mocha color. For a spring look, a pastel or ivory tank dress would look great!


My Australian Outback hat from Montecristi Panama Hats of Napa Valley was just the accessory I wanted to add a little edge to this feminine dress.


I thought flats would be the best choice for this dress. I bought these Steve Madden Eleanorr suede lace-up flats in both black and taupe a couple of weeks ago and wear a pair almost everyday. I wore the black ones in the Fall Style Event at Stella Carakasi. They made walking the runway a breeze!


I kept my jewelry simple and wore only a thin gold chain with a crystal pendant from Meghan Bo Designs, a local Sonoma jewelry artist I recently discovered.


I adore this lace Boho dress and hope to wear it a few more times before winter arrives.


I also bought this blue embroidered midi dress by PPLA at Bella Vita Sonoma. I love how soft and comfortable it is and easy to throw on and go. All I need to add is a pair of cute shoes or booties and some toned down jewelry and I’m set.


I wore a simple gold personalized “The Rich Life” necklace with my Boho dress.


And a Michal Golan white evil eye bracelet/cuff.


I love the embroidered floral pattern of this dress. And I appreciate that it has a lining from the waist to the top of the thighs so there’s no need to wear a slip.


I’m confident my love for dresses – especially Boho dresses – will continue. They can make such a statement and, depending on the dress, can be a comfortable way to look stylish!

Monday, October 5th is the last day to submit your photo to be featured in How I Wear My: Poncho or Wrap. Send in a photo of you wearing your poncho or wrap to [email protected] by the end of the day on Monday to be featured and be sure to include a description of your outfit. For more information, visit the How I Wear My page.

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I’m linking up today with Visible Monday and Style Nudge.

Make it a rich day!




Last Thursday night’s Fall Mix and Layer Event was a blast!

This fashion, beauty, food and wine event featured numerous businesses in the North Bay Area, most notably Whole Foods Market Coddingtown in Santa Rosa. Kristen Tantarelli, Marketing Team Leader for Whole Foods Market Coddingtown, asked me if I would be interested in throwing a party that Whole Foods Catering would cater. I love Whole Foods Market and I love throwing parties so I didn’t need to think too long about that question before saying yes!

Kristen was the Marketing Team Leader at the Gilman Whole Foods Market location, just a block from the Stella Studio in Berkeley, and provided tasty finger-foods for the Spring Luxe Event last May. Soon after transferring to Santa Rosa this summer, Kristen contacted me about this opportunity.

Kristen and I met to discuss the type of party we would throw. We wanted the event to be focused on North Bay women, fall fashion and of course, Whole Foods Market’s wonderful food. I was certain Malia of Style by Malia would have some great ideas so I contacted her to see if she wanted to join in the fun. She was all in and said we could throw a fall fashion and beauty party in her office building. She suggested we include makeup artist, Candace Tantarelli, of flaunt Makeup Artistry – located in the same building – who just happens to be the cousin of Kristen’s husband. Small world!!

Once we had a location, a date and a theme, we got to work planning the rest. I worked with Kristen and members of her helpful team of Whole Foods Market caterers, John and Don, to come up with the menu. More about the food later in the post!


We also discussed having a swag bag guests could take home with them. Whole Foods Market generously donated 90 reuseable grocery bags, in a deep brown fall color, and enough swag to fill it up!

I arrived at Malia’s office at 8:00 the morning of the event. Malia and I thought filling the bags with swag would be easy and maybe take an hour. Nearly five hours later, we were still filling swag bags! We agreed that these were the best swag bags we’d ever seen!


Our guests would be spoiled with products from Whole Foods including a big bottle of hair, skin and nail vitamins from Rainbow Light, hair care products from Giovanni Cosmetics, 365 Peppermint tins, a bag of Allegro coffee beans, a $5.00 Whole Foods gift card and much more!


Other local businesses wanted to contribute to the swag bag too! Kindred Fair Trade Handcrafts gave each guest a darling beaded bracelet, Lashes by Alisa also gave each guest a coupon for 1/2 off synthetic mink eyelashes extensions, Ali Quattrocchi donated a coupon for a Zumba class, Wine Glass Writer gave each guest a set of their fun markers and Gretchen Nielsen added a bag of goodies from Vernon.


While Malia and I were getting our exercise in loading swag bags, Encore Events Rentals arrived with our furniture rentals. We rented a bar, standing tables, round tables and a curtain to block off an area we didn’t want visible.


Encore Events Rentals is owned by Bridget Doherty, who happens to be on the cover of the latest North Bay Woman Magazine!

North Bay Magazine was also a sponsor of our Fall Mix and Layer Event and also put copies of their latest issue in swag bags.

North Bay Woman Magazine

Just a few doors down from Malia’s office is a lovely floral shop, Pedy’s Petals. Pedy generously decorated the space with her gorgeous fresh flower arrangements. And gave the bouquets – including one very large and stunning arrangement – to several guests at the end of the evening.


After the swag bags were filled, furniture and flowers arranged, Malia and I left to get ready for the party. When we returned a couple hours later, the Whole Foods Market Catering van had arrived. This party was getting off the ground!


Thankfully my stepkids and their friends offered to help serve at the event. Tori and her longtime friend, Amanda, to wear Karina Dresses from Shop The Rich Life. Don’t they look darling?

Tori’s friend, Nico, was a huge help as was Tori’s boyfriend, Joey, who was the bartender for the evening along with my stepson, Ryan who thankfully took most of these photos.


With food in place and servers ready to serve, the guests started to arrive. Cheese, fruit, popcorn, wine, Italian soda and mineral water awaited them at the bar.


Wine Glass Writer generously donated wine to the event. Cold Sauvignon Blanc was the perfect choice for a hot summer evening!


Guests were asked to write their names on their wine glass with a Wine Glass Writer. It’s always a good idea to have plenty of writers on hand at any gathering. It cuts down on wasted wine and on using extra glasses, thereby conserving water (and wine!).


Across from the bar, Whole Foods Market set up a Crostini Station. Guests could make their own crostini, choosing from pesto cream cheese, olive tapenade, proscuitto, bruschetta and various cheeses. The idea was to layer it up! Adding whatever you like to your crostini.


More layers came in the form of finger foods like Caprese Skewers, a variety of French Macarons, black hummus cups topped with a cherry tomato, basil leaf and creme fraiche.

Whole Foods Market also made steak wraps with carmelized onions and fresh tomatoes. So good!


Kristen from Whole Foods Market Coddingtown passed out delicious Caprese Skewers to guests. Such a fun summery finger-food!


I loved seeing so many friends and getting to meet some new people too!


Lawana, my longtime friend and jewelry designer who you may remember from the Spring Luxe Event, and I had our hair done at the event by Kimberly Michalik, owner of Dolce Vita Salon and Lounge. I love what she did with my hair – a wavy side braid – and Lawana looked so darling with her 60s inspired poof!


Guests also mingled in Candace’s studio, fLaunt Makeup Artistry. Candace did my makeup for the event. I just love the way she does me up!


The date of the event, August 27th, just happened to be National Pot de Creme Day and we were lucky enough to have Pierre Coeurdeuil, co-owner of Petit Pot of South San Francisco, with us for the evening. He brought five luscious flavors of his pots de creme with him for guests to sample. Creamy, full of flavor, with just the right velvety consistency and wholesome ingredients, these little pots de cremes are fantastic! My favorites are Lemon Curd and Dark Chocolate…oh, and Vanilla. Okay, I love them all! You can find Petit Pot at select Whole Foods Markets. Visit the Petit Pot website for more information.


Along with chilled wine and scrumptious foods, we also had shopping!

Cheryl from Jewels of the Vineyard brought lots of her beautiful bracelets to the event. We have gorgeous fall colors coming soon to Shop The Rich Life. Take a look at the variety of styles and colors on her website too!


Sandee and I brought some of our goodies for guests to shop for too. Our Stella Carakasi pieces were a big hit as were the cashmere blend ponchos!


Lawana fell in love with the Take Note Vest, new for fall. And that’s Yarra McClure in the bottom left corner who is Head Stylist at Stella Carakasi. She came up for the event and brought with her gift cards for the swag bags and a very special raffle item!


This Far and Away Coat from Stella Carakasi was raffled off during the event. It is stunning! And not available online until October. So imagine how excited Vicki (above upper right) was to win it!


Vicki, who is a Rodan & Fields Independent Consultant, also brought a gift of a Rodan and Fields skin care regimen for the raffle and my friend and artist, Nora, won!


What a fun, tasty and fashionable night! Thank you to all the guests who came to the event.

I want to thank Kristen for choosing me for this fun marketing campaign for Whole Foods Market’s Catering. You were a pleasure to work with, Kristen! And thank you to John and Don of the catering department for all of their hard work.

I would also like to thank Malia for being such a generous, helpful and fun person to partner with. Thank you for arranging the use the space for the event and for your helpful ideas.

Thank you, Jeannine of Wine Glass Writer, for your very generous donation of wine and Wine Glass Writers.

Thank you Pedy for the gorgeous flowers, Candace for makeup and Prosecco, and to Kimberly for making my hair – and others – look amazing.

Thank you to my business partner, Sandee, for helping out with lots of details and taking care of everyone’s shopping needs.

Thank you to North Bay Woman Magazine, Encore Events and everyone who had a hand in making this event such fun!


Date Change: September’s How I Wear My: Tassel has been pushed out a week. The new deadline for submission is September 7th. Please visit the How I Wear My page for more information and send your photo, along with a description of your tassel look, to [email protected].

How I Wear My Badge

A Labor Day Sale is happening now at Shop The Rich Life. Grab these great deals while they last!



Make it a rich day!




Disclosure: Whole Foods Market Coddingtown catered the Fall Mix and Layer Event and supplied gift bags and gifts for 90 guests, in exchange for hosting and promoting this event. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always.