This last weekend we had our annual women’s retreat this year the theme was “Rise Up” based on the Ezra 10:4. The color palette was purple, gold and grey. I have always wanted to make paper flowers and this seemed like the perfect time to go for it. I headed to Pinterest to see if I could find a template. It didn’t take long for me to realize no one is really sharing those templates for free so I found this awesome shop Avanti Morocha DIYs on Etsy and bought her templates, her logo is “Craftiness is Happiness” isn’t that cute?! For $40.00 I got templates of 5 different flowers with 3 sizes in each flower. She has the best video tutorials that made the flowers so easy to make.

First of all look at the car! This is the most packed we have ever had it. I’m so thankful for my sis in law Cori, she is the best helper, she can cut some amazing leaves and can pack a car like a boss 🙂

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I have dozens of fence boards so that is what I used to hang the flowers. My brother in law set up kickstands in the back so the boards stood up perfectly. And last but not least the Rise Up sign. Isn’t it beautiful?! Lets just take a moment to look at it…sigh. My amazing husband cut that out of sign foam on his CNC Router for me. He nailed in on the font too. I spray painted it gold and voila.

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I really wanted to incorporate lanterns into the room and Ikea had the perfect lanterns at the perfect price.

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The three large flowers are hung with a command hook but the rest I used a glue gun. The command hooks and velcro were not working.

Here was the view from our meeting room, just stunning!

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I was so excited to show you the backdrop. Here is the rest of the decor.

The entrance

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The bathroom always gets some love!

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The food table had a large frame with paper flowers and a “Be Brave” sign I found on Pick Your Plum. I used the same lanterns as the front. I tried to mirror the front and back of the room. I feel like that just makes everything flow so nicely.

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Table centerpieces were pretty basic. Wood slices, burlap and masons with purple and white flowers.

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Everyone had this printable waiting at their seat!

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Some fun little accents through out the room.

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We have have offered these encouragement boards for the last several years and the ladies love them. They are organized by condo. Everyone gets an envelope and slips of paper. The hope is that each woman gets her envelope filled up with encouragement and lots of love!

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During our free time on Friday a few of us went on a hike. Here is Emerald Bay behind us. We stumbled upon this gorgeous hike and found a little treasure called Eagle Lake. I got a new lens for my camera so I was really feeling the photographer in me 🙂

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Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Hey Everyone, Happy Monday! I hope you all enjoyed the first Q & A with my Stylist Sis in Law Kate. How many of you went out and got a storage bin for under your bed? It seriously is the best way to organize your seasonal clothes.

The rest of these questions are geared towards specific styles and it will really help if you know your body type. Here is a great quiz I found that will help you figure out what your body type is Shop Your Shape. If you haven’t done this I really recommend it. It is so liberating to know what shape you are and then own it! Seriously shopping will be so much better because you know what flatters you. Fyi I am a pear 🙂

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Q: What are your top 5 practical wardrobe essentials for everyday wear.
A: For the fall:
-black skinnies
-flat ankle boots (blk brown or grey)
-over-sized v-neck tee-shirt (white blk or grey)
-a leather (or textured) jacket (any color you want!)
-a short necklace, simple cuff, with a statement ring
Go Buy Now!
Q: How do you wear a light jean men’s dress shirt?
A: I like to call this a chambray shirt! and I try to wear it differently every time
For the fall, my favorite way to wear it is open, over a loose tank, with skinny jeans and flat ankle boots. It can also be more feminine paired with a fall floral, or more 70’s tucked into something high waisted.
Q: What’s the best way to wear a long vest?
A: It depends on your body type! If you’re petite, pair it with heels (heeled booties preferably). You don’t want it to overwhelm you, you want it to elongate you. If you’re an hourglass, don’t be afraid to belt it; if you’re a pear, wear it sleeveless in the transition months so we can obsess over your great arms and shoulders, and if you’re a rectangle, you can wear it however you want because its perfect for you (but skinnies and flat boots would be perfect)
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Q: What are some flattering outfits for hippier girls?
A: I call the “hippier” girls a pear. Lauren Conrad is a great example of a true pear shape. Pears should always show their waist. Belts are your best friend; Don’t be afraid of high waisted bottoms as long as you put them with heels.
must haves: A-line Dresses, flare denim, strong shoulder blazers, flowy maxi dresses and skirts, nude heels to elongate your legs, heeled ankle boots that fit loosely around the ankle.
Avoid: shirt dresses, excess material from hips, fitted tops hitting at hips and boxy cuts that do not accent your waist.
Q: What jean recommendations do you have for women with curves that are still stylish?
A: Best brands I’ve found that fit well (this list also goes in order from low to high price points):
Kut from the Kloth
Blnck NYC
Cheap Monday
J Brand
Mother Denim
I hope you all enjoyed this interview! Thank you so much Kate for taking the time and sharing your secrets with us.

Ever since I was a little girl I loved to shop including but not limited to clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry oh and makeup, I knew I almost forgot something. Even though I feel like I have a good handle on my personal style and how to shop for my body type when I need help or have questions with styling I turn to my sis in law Kate. She has been in the fashion industry for over 10 years and let me tell you she knows her stuff.

First of she will make you feel like a million dollars just being around her. Her authenticity and love for life shines bright. And she will also leave you wondering how you can dress as good as she does.  Her style is unlike any other. I thought it would be fun to get her take on some common style questions. I enlisted some of my friends and asked them what their style questions were? So here we go, hope you enjoy!

Q: How often should you clean out your closet and get rid of things? 

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A: I give my closet a good detox twice a year. Spring in March and Fall in September.

 In September, when its time for my “fall detox” I take everything out of my closet that is truly spring (meaning I know I would not wear it in the months of Sept-Feb. These items are true tank tops, light weight dresses, bright florals, light colors etc) they are removed and placed on my bed. I go through every piece and if I either haven’t worn it in the last 6 months, or it looks “worn and dirty” it goes in the donate (or selling) pile. Any spring pieces that received a lot of use, and I know I will wear again next spring, I keep… but they don’t go back in my closet just yet.

The secret to seasonal success: I keep a big long tub under my bed of my “seasonal” clothes; so come September I bust it out and it reveals all my “fall” items I’ve kept hidden away for the last 6 months. Its fun to bring them out because it feels like a new round of shopping as I pull some of my favorite pieces. The other benefit of not seeing these items for the last 6 months (besides having more space in your closet) is you pull out some pieces that you know its time to get rid of (i.e. I don’t even like that, that is SO last year I would never wear that now). I also create a donate/sell pile for these unwanted fall items as well.

 The styles I want to keep find a new home in my closet, and my seasonal spring pieces that need a rest go into the tub, out of sight under my bed until next spring when I do it all again. Its something that takes a few hours, so plan it on a day either with your best friend (who can be moral support) or pour lots of coffee with your favorite tunes and zero distractions and get it done (hire a baby sitter or ask someone to watch your kids and treat yourself!) you will feel clean, organized and accomplish: like you went on a shopping trip, yet you didn’t spend a penny on new clothes.
Q: How do you decide what to get rid of? (I like to horde) 
A: If I haven’t worn it in 6 months, its OUT and I will sell it or give it to a friend. if it doesn’t fit me correctly (and alterations can’t do anything about it) or if it looks worn I donate it.

 Q:  Whats hot for winter?

A: For fall, the 70’s still guide us. But there’s so many variations! its not about looking like a flower child, its more about channeling the textures and colors of the 70’s. Think suede, camel, earthy tones. The best way to incorporate this trend is maybe getting a faux suede handbag, or a suede pair of boots. Switch out your bright florals for earth tone color blocking.
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How much did you love that? First of all that picture of the coats are all Kate’s!! Are you all drooling, like I am? I hope you enjoyed Secrets from a Stylist: Stay tuned for Part Two next week!

Earlier this summer we took a trip to the San Francisco Zoo. We got there a little later in the afternoon which was really nice because there were no crowds. Lily wasn’t the only one who had fun, we all loved it! The only disappointment was no elephants, boo.

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She loved watching the penguins get fed 🙂

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Watching some cute little monkeys swing around.

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This was super cool, we got to see the grizzlies eat! They both went and stood at the wall looking up about 5 minutes before the lady came to feed them.

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We bought this book Zoo Poo in the gift shop. Little did we know it would be one her favorites. People either love it or hate it, ha. We think it’s hilarious!

Zoo Poo: A First Toilet Training Book (Barron’s Educational Series ...

On our way home we stopped by one of our favorite pizza places in Oakland Zachary’s Chicago Pizza. We are typically an NY style pizza eating family but once you see this big beautiful pizza you’ll see why we love this place!

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We get the Zachary Special when we go. Matt wanted to try their thin crust this time but I didn’t agree…guess what we ended up getting? 🙂

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Lily couldn’t even look up for the picture!

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Our day trip to the bay was great. If you are heading that way anytime soon check out the SF Zoo and then a stop at Zachary’s on the way home.

Today I’ve got a great recipe to share with you. I’m easing my way into meal planning and for Monday’s I’m planning a meatless meal. I have made this soup for years and thought it would be perfect for our meatless Monday rotation. It’s taken from one of Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Cookbook. I love her cookbook, everything I’ve made from it is great!

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Has anyone else tried these? They are amazing 🙂 I’ve seen them at Trader Joe’s and Safeway in the frozen sections. They also have Ginger and Cilantro ones.

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Zesty Spinach Soup

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp evoo (I use coconut oil)

1 purple onion peeled and coarsely chopped

1 thick carrot peeled and coarsely chopped

3 cloves garlic, passed through garlic press

1 tsp sea salt

Pinch of freshly ground pepper

6 Cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock or water

2 vegetable or chicken bouillon cubes

2 cups chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup well rinsed quinoa

2 cups white kidney beans well rinsed and drained

1 tsp curry powder

pinch ground nutmeg

3 cups baby spinach

Directions: 

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Add onion and saute over medium-low heat until translucent.
  2. Add carrots, celery, garlic and salt. Saute until vegetables are golden, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add stock or water. Unwrap bouillon cubes and add to liquid. Add tomatoes, quinoa, beans and spices. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender.
  4. Add the spinach and cover. Cook briefly, just until leaves are wilted.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot with crusty bread.

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It’s amazing I got any pictures taken with this monkey at my feet! 😉

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Does anyone else do meatless Monday’s? If so what are your favorite recipes?