One of my favorite trips this year was to Carmel for the Carmel International Film Festival. My friend Julie, who you may know from KayandStar, invited me to cover the film festival on my blog.

Julie comes to California every year to volunteer for this five-day event, which includes the screening of over 120 films in 10 venues in the Carmel area. There are nightly parties, live music, and panels along with 300 film makers, executives, actors, producers, directors and celebrities.

Julie invited Bill and me to stay with her in the vacation home she rented with her husband, just a block from the beach and a short walk to Ocean Avenue, the main shopping and dining area in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The two-story rental house was beautiful and so full of natural light. This was the view off the back deck on the second floor of the home. A stunning vista!

carmel film festival

Bill and I quickly unpacked and got settled in our beautiful guest room. Julie had our press passes and info ready for us so I spent some time getting familiar with it all. I love the cool messenger bag with the Carmel International Film Festival logo and brought it back home with me to Sonoma.

carmel film festival

The Film Festival 

That evening we headed out with Julie and her husband to the Filmmakers Welcome Party at the Sunset Center in downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea. The first thing we noticed when we arrived were the unique table scapes. This one had a pair of white mannequin legs coming out of the centerpiece. How creative!

carmel film festival

The catering was done by Kurtz Culinary. They really outdid themselves with these colorful displays of beautiful fresh fruit, nuts, cheeses, charcuterie and bread. It was almost too pretty to eat but somehow we all managed!

carmel film festival

There were chocolate treats too. Bill and I visited the Marich Premium Chocolate table more than once – I think four times if I remember correctly. This tasty chocolate company only uses fair-trade-certified premium cocoa, whole nuts, and fresh fruit. The big bowl of white candies in the middle was filled with their Peppermint Bark Caramel Popcorn. If you are looking for a sweet holiday treat to give as a gift or to yourself, this is it!

marich chocolates

There were about a dozen Monterey County wineries at the reception too. It’s always a treat to taste wines from other California regions.

carmel film festival

It was such a delight to meet Julie in person. We have chatted often online but this was our first time face-to-face. I am so grateful to have met her and attend this wonderful event.

Julie and Adrienne

Matthew Modine was at the event that evening, presenting a short film he wrote and directed. It’s titled Super Sex and stars Ed Asner, Kevin Nealon, Elizabeth Perkins  and Matthew Modine’s daughter, Ruby Modine. Don’t let the title fool you! It’s a such a cute film that is sure to give you a giggle or two.

Julie convinced Matthew Modine to take a photo with me. He had just plucked a grape from one of the many tables and was commenting about how huge it was! Such a funny moment – sort of surreal.

Matthew Modine

After the reception, we were asked to head into the beautiful theatre at the Sunset Center. First we watched Super Sex, then Matthew Modine and Ed Asner came on stage afterward and answered some questions from the emcee, Erin Clark who is also the co-founder of the Carmel International Film Festival. The Q & A was quite entertaining! I forgot how hilarious Ed Asner can be. I love his dry, quick humor!

Next, we watched The Space Between, a feature length film written and directed by Amy Jo Johnson, who also acted in the film. You may recognize Amy from her roles on Flashpoint, Power Rangers, Felicity.

The Space Between is an indie comedy about family, forgiveness and coming of age. It was humorous, touching and I enjoyed the plot line. After the movie, the cast came out to take questions from Erin as well as the audience.

carmel film festival

Another great event during the festival was attending the Women in Film reception and luncheon at La Playa Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The reception was outdoors on the hotel’s beautiful patio. It was such a gorgeous day!

carmel film festival

Once lunch began, we went inside to find our assigned table. Look who was sitting with us?

carmel film festival

This event is a celebration of women in the film industry. It brings together powerful women, from many fields, for networking opportunities and to support and encourage both present and future artists. After lunch we listened to a panel discussion led by Erin Clark.

carmel film festival

That evening, all four of us – Julie, her husband and Bill and I – went out for dinner, then returned to the Sunset Center to see Good Fortune.

The Red Carpet had been rolled out and stars began to arrive!

carmel film festival

Bill caught this photo of John Paul DeJoria with the Mayor of Carmel, Steve Dallas.

John Paul Dejoria

Good Fortune is a documentary about John Paul DeJoria’s rise to incredible success after growing up poor and, at times, being homeless. The film focuses on his many philanthropic endeavors. You’ll want to be friends with John Paul and you’ll be inspired to be more like him after watching this film.

After the film, John Paul came on stage with directors Josh and Rebecca Tickell to discuss the film and take questions. Shortly after, John Paul received the first Carmel International Film Festival Creative Humanitarian Award, established this year by the Board of Directors. The award recognizes John Paul DeJoria’s many contributions and achievements and his tireless charitable and volunteer work.

carmel film festival

The last event we attended at the film festival was the Filmmakers Beach Dinner at Lovers Point in Pacific Grove. It was a wonderful evening, capping off a fantastic experience in Carmel.

carmel film festival

Exploring Carmel

It just wouldn’t be a complete trip to Carmel without visiting the beach. I took several walks on the beach with Bill during our stay.

carmel beach

We liked to watch the surfers ride the waves.

carmel surfers

And of course on a gorgeous, sunny fall day at the beach, we had to take a selfie!

carmel film festival

We also watched the sunset…

carmel sunset

a couple times. I love the jagged rocks on the coastline.

carmel film festival

Birthday Shopping in Carmel! 

My birthday was a couple of days after the film festival ended, but I thought it was still early enough for a little birthday shopping! Julie suggested I visit European Jewelers at jewelry store at The Crossroads in Carmel.

They have gorgeous and unique jewelry! Bill bought me a beautiful ring I wear all the time and a long necklace with pearls, amethyst and other semi-precious stones. I love the long necklace layered with the Agate pendant from KayandStar that I bought last year.

carmel jewelry

I also treated myself to a pair of tall Turkish boots from Artemis (that blogged about that here) and ordered a pair of peep-toe booties I’ll be showing you in future style post.

Artemis Boots of Carmel

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my favorite highlights from Carmel! It was truly a wonderful experience I won’t forget. Thank you, Julie!


Holiday Offer from KayandStar

Julie and her daughter Jordan are offering readers a special discount on KayandStar jewelry for the holidays. Take 15% off your KayandStar purchase(s) from now until 12/20/16. Just use code RICHLIFEGIFTS at checkout!

Long Sea Glass Beaded Necklaces

How I Wear My Reminder

The How I Wear My theme for December is “Holiday Party Look.” Send in a photo of you in your holiday outfit to [email protected] no later than Monday, December 5th. The posts will go live December 7th.

Jill of Everything Just So and I can’t wait to see your holiday looks!

How I Wear My Badge

Make it a rich day!



Disclosure: I was given two media passes to attend the Carmel International Film Festival. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always. 


Chilly Weather is Finally Here!

Colder temps and frost have arrived in Wine Country. Hurray! I have been waiting – not so patiently – to wear some of my new pieces from Stella Carakasi’s fall collection.

I have finally been able to wear my favorite new fall addition to my wardrobe, this beautiful Peruvian Alpaca wool coat. You may recall that I wore it on the runway at the Fall Style Event at Stella Carakasi last September.


It’s called Rumor Has It Coat and it is soft, warm, luxurious and can be worn a few different ways. My favorite way to wear it is to have the inner jacket zipped just below my collar bone while leaving the waterfall lapels open. You can also sweep the lapels over the front of the coat making for a draped look.

Stella Carakasi Rumor Has It Coat

Photo taken at The Residence at Comstock Wines

Or zip the inner jacket all the way up to the chin as I did here for a dramatic look that will keep your neck extra warm!

Stella Carakasi Rumor Has It Coat

I love the leather trim and the zipper sleeves!

Rumor Has It Coat

I hope to have many opportunities to wear this luxurious beauty!

New Hair Cut!

Last week I had a hair appointment for a color refresh and cut. I had grown tired of my dry, brittle ends and wanted more lift, body and movement. But I still wanted my hair long. What to do?

I discussed options with my hairdresser, Kimberly who is the owner of Dolce Vita Salon in Santa Rosa, about my desires and she suggested taking just a few inches off, shortening my existing layers and adding a few more.

Here is my “before” look, which was taken in early November.


And my “after” look.


I love the new length. It’s s0 much easier to style and not so weighed down and flat looking as before. Plus, those dry ends needed to go! This is the shortest my hair has been in probably 10 years and I am thrilled with it!

Freelance Writing

I have been busy writing posts for Sonoma Magazine this week, in anticipation of Thanksgiving Day, which will be here in less than a week. Eek!

A talented group of local women put together an absolutely stunning Thanksgiving photo shoot. They were kind enough to share the photos and their expert tips with me so I could, in turn, share them with readers!

You can read the first Thanksgiving styling post, with suggestions from Sonoma County floral designer Jaclyn K. Nesbitt Design in the link


Another post, with tips from Brittany Bijan of Harlin & Sparrow and Sarah Davis of S. Davis Prints, will be about creating a beautiful table scape for your Thanksgiving guests. It also includes baking tips from Sonoma pastry chef and co-owner of Crisp Bake Shop, Andrea Koweek – so be sure to check back!

The breathtakingly beautiful photos you will see were taken by my friend and professional photographer Sarah Deragon.

Thanksgiving Plans 

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, what are your plans? Ours are up in the air. We will be staying home but we’re not sure if we’ll be enjoying a purchased pre-made dinner for two or cooking for a crowd. I don’t know about you, but the idea of cooking a huge multi-course meal for two people sounds exhausting!

During the Thanksgiving holiday, I am looking forward to catching up on my writing, reading for pleasure (which I never seem to make time for anymore), spending time with family, putting up the holiday tree and decorating the house, and doing a bit of organizing and decluttering.

I hope to add more pieces to my “Items for Sale” page this weekend.  I also added some new pieces to my My Wine Country Closet page including this olive green trench from Gap. I absolutely love it! It’s lightweight and will be perfect for mild temps this fall and winter.


Make it a rich day!



Disclosure: The Rumor Has It Coat was given to me. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always.