I am craving cooler weather.

This is something that I RARELY say.  I think I have just hit my limit.  It seems that summer has been going on for two years now in Orange County and as much as I love the long summer days, I have been staring at my fireplace imagining it actually being used with a blanket and cup of coffee in the morning.  A change up every now and then is nice you know?

With the anticipation of hopefully having a Fall this year (fingers crossed!), the one item that I have been consistently adding to my closet is the plaid shirt.   It seems to work with everything.  Right now I have been pairing with denim cut offs and skirts but they will transition perfectly to skinny jeans and jackets.  I also love that it is a piece that can transition seamlessly from day to night.  Plaid shirts are extremely easy to find, ranging from the $20 Forever 21 to the upwards of $100 Rails, making them a no-brainer for all price ranges.  The selection is endless.

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Plaid Shirt / Denim

Evening Look: Faux Leather Jacket / Clutch / Lipstick / Heels

Daytime Look: Sunglasses / Crossbody / Necklace / Boots

Here are some other plaid shirts I am loving…

 

Chicken 1

One of the biggest challenges when the kids return to school is the preparation of dinner.  The evenings that were previously at home, relaxing after a day at the beach are gone.  The transition is quick and suddenly you are running from school pick up to practices and homework, all the while trying to get dinner ready early enough for everyone to go to bed on time.  I would say the most chaotic time of day when school is in session is from 5pm to 7pm, which is right when dinner needs to be made.  Because of this, I am always on the look out for extremely easy recipes that are going to add some nutrition to the end of our day without taking hours to prep and cook.  While trying to find something new, I came across this Lemon Chicken Breast recipe.  The ingredient list is extremely short (and all the items I already had…BONUS!) and it took only a few minutes to prep before getting them into the oven.  The 40 minute bake time was just what I needed to get the two youngest bathed and in their pajamas.  As soon dinner was done the Hubby and Oldest arrived home from practice and we were all ready to eat.  I count this as success.  I wish all evenings went this well…

Chicken 2

In some fun shopping news, one of my favorite boutique owners, Stephani of Xpecting Boutique is launching “Unxpecting”, non-maternity clothes for the busy mom.  Her store has been the go-to boutique in Orange County for years for all expecting moms.  She is now broadening her merchandise to include all of those who are no longer expecting but want pieces that fit their style but are also comfortable and practical.  And what better way to launch this than with a little party in the shop!  Here are all the details and I suggest stopping in if you can!

Xpecting

stripes 1

You can never have too many stripes.

They make the perfect transition print from Summer to Fall.

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< Long sleeve dress (20% off!) / Cropped sweater / Sweater / Heel (50% off!) / Planner / Dress / Bag (sale!) / Flat  (sale!)>

Of course stripes on their own is a nice classic look but I challenge you to try stripes with florals or prints to modernize your look, just like OC Style Report and I did here.


photo via

One thing I adore about blogging is the opportunity to meet some incredible women who are creating businesses that share my passion for style.  One of these women is Rachael Dickens from the OC Style Report.  Rachael has created an online editorial that is Orange County’s one stop shop for style that is found right here in Orange County at our local boutiques.  I worked with Rachael twice last year on two photos shoots (Styled Three Ways and Z Collection) so I of course said yes when she asked me to be a part of her “Blogger Series”.  We teamed up with Taim Boutique in Laguna Beach and shot all the photos in my home.  Per the usual, it was a blast and I just love the entire OCSR team.  Here are a few photos from the shoot but you can see the entire post and learn a little more about me on the OC Style Report by clicking here.

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SaraDenim1

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Photographer: Rachael Dickens

Hair and Makeup: Swell Beauty

Set Manager: Natalie Dickens

On Set Stylist: Katie O’Sullivan

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The first weekend of the school year is here and I am tired.  The “get up!  get ready! eat breakfast!  get your shoes on!  brush your teeth!  let’s go!” mornings are in stark contrast to the slow and lazy mornings we have been enjoying all summer and we can all feel the effects.  It is nice to have them back in school, allowing me to get things done around the house, enjoy a little bit of quiet time (hence the photo that has allowed yoga and magazine reading back into the mix) and get back on a routine.  It is just going to take some time before we are all up to speed.  Here are a few things around the web I have had my eye on this morning.

Do you have the 10 things every bedroom should have?

Singer22 is offering 10% off site wide with code JUMPONIT.

At this point I think every single man, woman and child has participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge.  Have you?  Remember to make your donation!

These sandals are on my “must have” list.

The easiest DIY for distressed denim shorts by a fellow OC blogger.

The time Drew Barrymore and I will be on the same list.

Get 20% off these Faux Leather Pants.  Perfect for Fall.  Use code: BRPICKS

I am giving this Chardonnay the title of “Wine of the Summer”.  It has been the easiest “go to” for entertaining.

I have been eyeing one of these clutches for what seems like forever and finally picked one up in Los Olivos.  I am in love.

People get so creative when they announce this.  I simply told people.  Boring I guess.

Looking for a phenomenal facial cleanser.  This one has been a staple of mine for years.

Happy Weekend.

It has happened.

My daughter now finds the catalogs that pertain to her and will go through and let me know what she would like to get.  Many times I shrugs it off.  The girl is like her mother.  She wants it all.  I couldn’t help but share this look that she selected out of the Crewcuts catalog though.  Her response was, “Mommy, this was the only look I like in the entire magazine.  Can I get it all?”  I had to admit, it was a really cute look…

and with 25% off the dress and hat with code SHOPNOW, she may actually get her wish this time.

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So here is our obligatory “First Day of School” photo.

I sort of love the exhaustion that is in all their eyes only because it felt EARLY getting up for school.

First Day of school

So now I have a 4th grader, 1st grader and a little girl who is dying to wear a uniform and go to school with her brothers but has one more year of TK left.  It is crazy how my children seem to age but I am staying the same age….

As a parent, the first day of school means a return to schedules, making lunch, dropping off and picking up, homework and all the things we were able to take a break from all summer.

As a child, the first day of school is so much more.

It is seeing your friends after a long summer.  It is wearing new clothes.  It is the excitement of not knowing what the year will bring.  It is the anticipation of your teacher and having your friends in your class.  From start to finish, it is nothing but FUN.

I wish that carried on forever.

I know there will come a point when my kids are not excitement for the first day.  They will most likely be teenagers, in high school, ready to be done with it all and head off to college.  They will miss long beach days, sleeping in, no homework and the lack of responsibility.

I know it is coming.

Fortunately I am not there yet.

And I will take these smiling, exhausted faces for as long as they will give them to me.

 

When it comes to back to school shopping, it is pretty easy for the boys.  We hit up the uniform store, fill the gaps we have and are done.  The dream male shopping trip.  It all matches, they don’t have to try anything on and we are done in about 10 minutes.  For Baby Girl, we are still a year away from her being in uniforms so I get to have a little fun prepping her year, filling her closet with fun Summer-to-Fall transition pieces and shoes.  My top places to shop for her are Crewcuts, Old Navy, Nordstrom, the Gap and Tea Collection.  I am okay with pink but I have never been okay with frills, tutus, and ruffles.  I feel these stores offer feminine but classic styles that are not over the top.  Am I dressing a “mini-me”?  Well of course.  I would wear all the below pieces if they came in my size.

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< beginning top left: Chambray Dress / Colorblock Dress / Baseball Tee / Long Sleeve NYC Tee / Camo Vest / Skirt / Cut Offs / Sandals / Sneakers >

Of these places to shop, top of my list for Baby Girl is Tea Collection.  I have always had a love for their travel-inspired pieces with beautiful prints and colors that are extremely feminine without being over the top obnoxious.  They are simple styles, wash extremely well and last forever.  Right now they are having an amazing back-to-school sale, making it the perfect time to update your little one’s wardrobe for Fall.  Purchase 5 pieces and you save 25%, 4 pieces you save 20% and 3 pieces you save 15% with code SCHOOL.  I have select some of my favorite items available below but there are so many items online you do not want to miss out.  Plus, you get free shipping with the purchase of $150 or more.  Happy Back to School.

SY Weekend

This is it.  The last weekend of summer.  How quickly it came.  I am just not ready to let it go.

With school looming over our heads, we are using these last few days of freedom to get away for the weekend and visit our home away from home.  There will be birthday celebrations, wine tasting, eating, visiting with dear friends and enjoying the calm before the storm.  You can follow along on our getaway on Instagram here.  I am going to take advantage of this down time and return to JIH on Tuesday.  Until then, Happy Weekend.

Just a few items that have been on constant rotation this week.  Per the usual, there is black and white with a bit of leopard and camo thrown in.  My uniform.

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Since being a little girl, I have always been a pasta lover.  I do not care how carb-free our world becomes, I will never give up a good pasta.  It is one of my favorite foods and I have passed this love on to my Oldest, who would eat noodles every single night if possible.  What makes pasta so good is that there are a million combinations when it come to the type of noodles and the type of sauce you use.  The possibilities are endless!  There are few meals better than a bowl of fresh pasta served with a homemade sauce and accompanied by a good glass of wine.

I am always on the look out for a new pasta dish that incorporates flavors that I haven’t used and fits the season.  With how hot it has been, a heavy sauce just doesn’t make sense.  I also tend to look for a sauce that can be whipped up rather quickly.  Sure there are days that I will make a sauce that takes hours upon hours to create, but with only a few summer days left, we don’t want to be cooped up inside cooking.  I came across this Pasta Puttanesca and the first thing that caught my attention was the small list of ingredients.  Ten to be exact.  With most being spices or things you would have in your pantry, I only had to pick up three more items to make this recipe.  Easy.  The other perk I noticed was the 10-15 minute cook time.  And there you go.  A delicious looking pasta that didn’t seem to take much time.  I was ready to try.

I may have found a new summer favorite in this one.  The sauce had incredible flavor but was really light, making it easy to eat on a warm evening.  It was refreshing and easy to serve.  It only took 20 minutes to do everything from start to finish, making dinner time a breeze.  This will definitely be in my back pocket as we begin school and my need for quick and easy recipes increases.

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