Today is the BIG day!

The Spring Luxe Event is just hours away. My friends at Stella Carakasi have been hard at work this week getting their Berkeley studio ready for guests and coordinating the final details.

I’ve been getting prepared as well. The models are ready to go with the outfits they selected, my short speech is written, and I have a few helpers – my stepson, nephew and some friends – coming along to help out with serving food and wine.

I am also getting myself prepared. I will be walking in the fashion show, too, and want to look my best not only for the event, but on the runway.  You may recall the Rich Life Spring Makeover I started at the beginning of the year. This week seemed like a good time to revisit!




Several weeks ago, I had a Micro-Penning procedure at SkinSpirit in Mill Valley – you can read about the treatment here.

These are the results of my procedure. The photo on the left was taken March 19th, three days after my Micro-Penning. On the right is a photo taken yesterday. I can really see a difference around my eyes!

During the procedure, the esthetician gets very, very close to your eyes, which initially surprised me but now I know why! Micro-Penning is very effective in that area. I can tell that the deep lines around my eyes (crows feet) are shallower (click on the photo to expand).


I am still using using SkinMedica’s Retinol Complex 0.5 to help fade my brown spots, but I have to be careful I don’t use it too frequently as my skin gets very dry, red and irritated quickly. I know people who can handle a much higher concentration with no issue. But not my sensitive skin. Easy does it!

I would definitely have another Micro-Penning treatment. I like the results! It’s a relatively painless – and not overly pricey – way to stimulate collagen and elastin production, which my skin needs.

If you’d like more information about Micro-Penning, visit the SkinSpirit website. They have locations in both the Bay Area and in Washington state.


For about six months, I had a series of gel manicures on my very thin and peel-y nails. Not a good idea! It’s taken a long time for me to get back to normally healthy nails, well over a year.

Gel manicures are so great looking and last a long time, and on most people they aren’t that damaging. But I have two things working against me: weak nails and I am a nail picker. Picking the gel off your nails is the worst thing you can do!

For a split second, I considered getting a gel manicure for the Spring Luxe Event, then I remembered days of dealing with painful, bleeding nail beds and terrible looking hands.

To help repair my nails, I use a few nail products from Perfect Formula. I decided I wanted a natural look on my nails – but yellow on my toes, to go with my Adora by Adrienne bag!


I asked my manicurist to apply two coats of Manicure Booster and now I have a low maintenance manicure – if it chips, no one will know!



What I love about the Smile Brilliant system is I can do just one or two applications of the Desensitizing Gel, followed by the Teeth Whitening Gel and my smile is instantly brighter and whiter!


And it’s so easy to use. The Desensitizing Gel makes the experience painless. I sometimes forget I am even whitening my teeth, the process is so comfortable. The trays are a perfect fit because they were made to fit my mouth!

I am ready for my big day with a brighter smile! Visit the Smile Brilliant website to get more information.


Of course I had to have my hair done for the Spring Luxe Event. I decided it was time to  add more highlights last week.


For now I like being blonde – mostly because it camouflages my gray spots so effectively. But I am not sure it’s the hair color I want long term. I will have to reevaluate at the end of summer. For now, my hair is ready for the runway!


Clothes always look better when your undergarments fit well and are good quality. A well-fitting and long-lasting bra is important to me, as I once mentioned in my 10 Things Worth the Splurge post.

These Simone Perele Caressence 3D Plunge Bra are the best! I had a gift certificate to my favorite bra shop, Ma Cherie et Moi in Santa Rosa, that my husband gave me for Christmas. I decided this was the perfect time to replace my worn out bras!

I asked for my usual bra style. Thankfully they had a few in stock but the sales person told me that Simone Perele is going to stop making this particular model. I sure hope they replace it with a comparable style!

I bought the last of what they had in my size at the shop and am thinking I should buy a few more online. I also found this other French brand, Lou, and love their Elegant T-Shirt bra.


Do you have a favorite bra you buy over and over again?

I am as ready as I will ever be for this fun event tonight! Now I am off to Santa Rosa to have my makeup professionally done by my friend and makeup artist, Candace Tantarelli of Flaunt Makeup Artistry. Then home to pack, practice my speech and hit the road!

If you are in the Bay Area and would like to attend the Spring Luxe Event today, I would love to invite you! Please send me an email to [email protected] and I will fill you in on the details!


Don’t forget that How I Wear My: White Jeans is next week. Visit the How I Wear My page for more information. The deadline for submission is May 4th. Send photos with a description of your look to [email protected] to be featured.

How I Wear My Badge

Make it a rich day!



Disclosure: The Micro-Penning procedure, Smile Brilliant kit and Perfect Formula nail products were all complimentary. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always! 


Spring officially arrives tomorrow! I thought this would be the ideal time to revisit my Rich Life Spring Makeover that I embarked on last month.




I had an IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatment at SkinSpirit several weeks ago. Although my brown spots aren’t very dark (you can see a photo in the previous makeover post), they are incredibly stubborn.

I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada where it’s often very hot and very sunny. My best friend and I used to slather ourselves in Coppertone tanning oil – SPF Zilch – and bake away in the radiating sun. So it’s no surprise to me that my brown spots are deep and resistant to treatments.

While the IPL did not remove the spots, they did fade a bit. But not enough to be finished with this process. Andrea Frederick, R.N., M.S.N., N.P., Aesthetic Nurse Specialist of SkinSpirit, told me at our consultation last January that my spots would be challenging and she was right!

Andrea now has me on a program that includes using SkinMedica’s Retinol Complex 0.5  (the Obagi combination I mentioned in the last post was too strong for my thin skin), staying out of the sun and applying SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical Defense SPF 50.


In several weeks, Andrea will reevaluate my skin and decide whether she thinks it’s a good idea to have a second IPL.

So while Kim of Northern California Style had fantastic results with her IPL, I did not. My Italian heritage, my hardcore sun-worshipping practices as a teen and my genes all play a big role in the condition of my skin as it is now at 47. The truth is, we are all different and it takes a professional like the staff at SkinSpirit to customize a plan that works for you and your skin.

While I continue battling my pesky brown spots, I also wanted to focus on the rest of my face. I had a Micro-Penning procedure on Monday with Heidi Beck, esthetician in the Mill Valley SkinSpirit location.

Micro-Penning is a 30-minute procedure that creates controlled micro-injuries to the skin with tiny needles. It helps produce collagen and elastin in the skin. The skin’s repair process results in improved texture and softer wrinkles. Find out more about Micro-Penning here and be sure to take advantage of their $50 off promotion, going on now!

There was very little discomfort during my Micro-Penning procedure. The only sensitive area was around my mouth but even that wasn’t bad and it was very brief. The procedure was actually very soothing and I caught myself drifting off a few times. Yes, drifting off while Heidi swept micro needles across my face. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true!

I have been taking photos daily of my progress. It will actually take about 21 days for my new skin cells to form. That’s when my skin will really be looking great!

I wanted to show you the redness. I only had it for two days. As far as discomfort after the procedure, I felt like I had a sunburn the rest of the day but by the next morning, I had no discomfort.


My skin still feels a little rough and it’s dry but the redness is gone. I am so excited to see how my skin progresses over the next couple of weeks. I will be sure to take photos and show you the results next month.


I started my Smile Brilliant applications once I received my teeth molds. You can see them in the image below. They look like Invisalign teeth aligners but they aren’t. Smile Brilliant molds are soft and flexible and allow the gels to penetrate your teeth. Using an Invisalign for whitening gels would be a big mess. They are not flexible and fit so snug to the teeth, there is not room for gel. It would ooze out of the device.

I have found the whitening process to be easy, not messy and gradual. The way I like it. I am very good about using the Desentizing Gel each time before using the Whitening Gel. I have had no discomfort doing it that way.

I thought I could skip the Desensitizing Gel so I tried it once. I had some mild pain in one of my molars and decided it was necessary to keep using both gels  if I wanted this to be comfortable experience.

The lovely people at Smile Brilliant told me that you can also use the desensitizing gel after your bleaching treatment to keep your teeth white longer.

You can tell that my teeth weren’t very yellow or dingy to begin with. But I have noticed they’re now brighter. In the photo, the top image is “before” and the bottom is “after” – see the difference?


To order your Smile Brilliant kit, visit their website. They have friendly and helpful people standing by to chat with you and answer any questions you may have.



My original Spring Makeover plan did not include my hair, other than perhaps a trim and a moisturizing treatment. But after some consideration, I decided to take some length off and go blonder for spring!

Now I have more body, more movement, more texture and I feel brighter! One great thing about being blonde is my grays aren’t as noticeable and I feel the need to wear less makeup.

Will I keep the blonde going? I think I will, at least until next winter, then I’ll re-evaluate. What you think of my shorter (for me) and blonder ‘do?


I mentioned in my first Rich Life Spring Makeover post that this was not just an external project. I want to makeover some internal things too.

Part of my makeover plan included attending the G3 Women’s Conference. The conference was last week. I have much to share about it and will do so next week. I am still letting all that I learned and experienced settle in. It was an exciting three days!


By the time you read this, I will be on the road to the South Bay Area. Kim of Northern California Style and I are attending the Grand Opening of Event of SkinSpirit’s Los Gatos location! There will be live demonstrations,  goodie bags and tasty things to eat and drink.

I can’t wait to see Kim again and experience this with her. Before we go, we’re getting blow outs, brow waxes and our makeup done at Halo Blow Dry Bar in Los Altos. What a fun day ahead. This will be my first blow out (that wasn’t after a haircut). I even get to spend the night at Kim’s house and meet her family!

Kim and I will be Instagramming up a storm, as lifestyle bloggers are known to do!

Follow Kim: @NorthernCalStyle

And I can be found: @therichlifeonabudget

Just a gentle reminder that April’s How I Wear My: Layers is fast approaching!

Visit the How I Wear My page for all the details!

How I Wear My Badge

 Make it a rich day!



Disclosure: My treatments at SkinSpirit were complimentary in exchange for promotion. I purchased the skin care products. Smile Brilliant gave me the teeth whitening kit in exchange for promotion. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always.