Category: where to shop

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“One cannot paint New York as it is, but rather as it is felt” – Georgia O’Keefe

When I travel, I really hate to over plan.  Part of my love for seeing the world is not having a set schedule and being able to walk the streets, grab a coffee and rest when you want and find hidden gems that you could perhaps overlook when you are quickly on to the next.  As our plane took off in LA, there were only two things that we had purchased tickets for; the 9/11 Museum and Memorial and a Yankees game.  Other than that, we were just going to figure it out as we go, understanding that this may limit how much of the city they see but making the entire trip more enjoyable for everyone.  What we didn’t realize is that this approach actually brought us through more of the city than I could have ever imagined. The children now love New York as much as I do and are asking when we can go back.  I must say, if you have thought about bringing your children to New York but have been a bit hesitant, GO FOR IT!  It is crazy how much there is to do with them.  I am going to share our day by day (apology in advance in how long this post is) with just a few photos on what we did and what they loved.

Here is our little adventure in New York…

Monday – The American Museum of Natural History, Central Park and The MET (for just a second)

We were staying right on Central Park South so it made sense that the first day there we would simply walk out the door and head toward the Upper West Side and the American Museum of Natural History.  The children love Natural History museums and we had heard this was one of the best.  It made complete sense to walk because it was gorgeous outside and it would give us a chance to see the park.  The museum was incredible and to make it even better, we grabbed Shake Shack for lunch right across the street.  On impulse we decided to walk across the park to the Upper East Side and the MET.  Though we did not decide to go in (there is only so much museum time a child has), we did decide to drive remote control sailboats in the park for a while, allowing us to soak up the sun and spend some peaceful time together.  The perfect first day.

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Tuesday – The 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty, SOHO, the Bowery

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum was a MUST when we first decided to go to New York.  Our Middle Man was born on September 11th and has always known his birthday was important but never has fully understood why.  Our Oldest has started to learn about 9/11 in school and it seemed like the perfect time to share with them this tragedy in American History.  We headed downtown early so that we could take them to Battery Park and show them the Statue of Liberty (no boats or Ellis Island for us today).  Then we spent some time at the Memorial, explaining a bit of what they were going to see inside and paying respect to those who were lost.  The museum absolutely blew us all away.  They did an incredible job and it brought back all the sadness and loss that I remember so vividly from that day in 2001.  For the boys, they experienced for the first time the planes hitting, the buildings falling and all the loss.  At one point I saw tears in my Oldest’s eyes.  They now understand the weight of that day.  The entire museum was incredible moving and I recommend everyone visit if they can.  We then headed to SOHO for lunch and a small bit of shopping at my favorite French boutique, Comptoir Des Cotonniers .  That night we met friends in the Bowery at Bacchanal.  This was our one “adult” dinner, the food was amazing and thanks to three iPads, we made it through.

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Wednesday – Chelsea Piers, the Highline, Little Italy, Time Square

Our dear friend Maritza of MilkShop NY and her husband live right outside the city and we had planned on getting together with them and their beautiful family.  They suggested the driving range at Chelsea Piers and this was right up the kids alley.  For an hour they were able to “golf” while we caught up on life and all that has been going on.  When leaving, they had mentioned they had never been to the High Line, which was only a block or two over, so we headed there next.  It is such a cool urban park with food, things to do with the kids and beautiful views of the city.  After that we headed to Little Italy where we completely over-indulged at La Mela and made a visit to the cutest children’s boutique, Piccolini NY.  At this point in our trip we had stayed clear of Times Square but we all figured the kids would love the lights and craziness so we headed over there, only to unload the car and have a major thunderstorm surprise us, drench us and give us an excuse to all head home.  I have not laughed that hard in a long time.

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Thursday – Yankee Game, 5th Avenue

A Yankee game is where all the chatter about visiting New York began.  We even picked the week we went because they had a day game that would be easier to bring the kids to.  So, the boys got their Yankee game (the only bummer for them is that Jeter didn’t play!) and then the girls got to do some shopping on 5th Avenue.  I introduced Baby Girl to the shoe floor at Saks and she anxiously helped me try on shoes though she was disappointed I did not walk out with the jelly sandals.

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It amazes me how much of the city were were able to see in juts a few days without ever feeling like we were trying to do too much.  Between walking, the subway and a cab here or there, everything seems extremely close, which was one of the great things about staying in Midtown with kids.  On Friday we jumped on the train at Union Station and headed to Washington D.C to visit our friends and enjoy the weekend there.   I will share our fun adventures there soon.  I am sure you have had enough photos for now.

 

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SAND.  SALT.  SUN-KISSED.  STYLE.

Four words.  One incredible shop.

Located on Pacific Coast Highway in the heart of Laguna Beach sits The Shop, a boutique designed with long, sunny beach days in mind.  The moment I walked in I knew I was going to love this store.  Walls filled with bathing suits, cover ups, dresses and tees shared space with shelves filled with jewelry, candles and beach towels.  I had to stop for a second to take it all in.  Everything epitomized the casual yet chic beach style of Orange County.  I was hooked.

It takes some time to walk the entire store as there are treasures and unique pieces around every corner.  Your day at the beach is taken care of with Beach People towels, Mikoh swimsuits and Nena & Co kimonos.  Gifts for family and friends are a breeze with Lil Coconut clutches, Heart Majestic necklaces and skincare products by Herbivore Botanicals.  When transitioning from the beach to dinner, nothing makes it easier than a Gypsy Queen romper and Matisse sandals.  And of course the classics.  The Shop carries all the surf lines we have loved for years such as Billabong and Rip Curl.  There is something here for everyone.

One thing I look for in a boutique is whether they offer pieces that you cannot find anywhere else and Jessica, the owner of The Shop, has done a phenomenal job of selecting merchandise and designers that feel special.  You know that you won’t find certain pieces anywhere else.  That is what makes shopping at The Shop even more fun.  We all want something a little special don’t we?  Add the “Endless Summer” feeling that washes over you the second you walk through the door and you can’t help but enjoy the entire experience.

If not for a time constraint I could have tried pieces on for hours but I still managed to bring home some goodies and can’t wait to make another trip in again for a little wardrobe pick-me-up.  If you are in Laguna Beach I highly suggest stopping in for a visit as the staff is extremely friendly and I know you are going to find something to take home.  It is impossible not to!  You can find The Shop at 1020 South Pacific Coast Highway.  I also suggest following The Shop on Instagram.  They post new arrivals all the time and if you find something you love, they can ship it directly to you!

Thank you The Shop for having me!

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As you drive down Pacific Coast Highway into Laguna Beach, you cannot help but notice all the adorable shops and boutiques that begin to pop up on both sides of the road.  It is a boutique shoppers dream.  Each extremely unique with their own style, you can spend days restocking your wardrobe in this famous beach town.  I made some stops over this past week, picked up some cute pieces and took some photos to share with all of you.  My first stop was Taim Boutique.

Tucked next to the La Casa del Camino hotel on PCH in Laguna Beach is the cutest beach cottage turned boutique.  Taim Boutique (named after the Irish word, “I am”) is a women’s boutique with the mission to “make women feel confident and beautiful by helping them discover and refine their style”.  When walking into Taim, you are instantly drawn into the comfortable feeling of being in someone’s home.  I could not get enough of the cottage decor and felt like I wanted to not just shop there but stay there for vacation.  It is the epitome of beach town chic.

Beyond enjoying all the racks of lovely clothes, there was two things that really stood out to me regarding the merchandise at Taim.  The first was versatility.  There is definitely something for everyone.  Brands such a Natural light, Mavi jeans, Fresh Laundry and Seven for all Mankind will help you stock your basics.  If you are headed to a special occasion such as a wedding or baby shower, the Rachel Pally and French Connection dresses are perfect.  The large selection of jewelry, candles and products make for the perfect gifts.  The second was the price point.  This is a store that you can shop, and shop well, without breaking the bank.  Who doesn’t love that?!  Since opening Taim two years ago, Kendra, the owner, has committed to carrying incredible pieces that are at an affordable price point, allowing women to shop and pick up a few items without emptying your wallet.

I filled a dressing room with all sorts of pieces to try on and kept coming back out for more.  I don’t know if it was the June gloom, the coziness of the boutique, or the easy and fun conversation with Kendra but after all the trying on, I walked out with the coziest of pieces; their signature “Life is better at the beach” sweatshirt and a pair of Fresh Laundry linen pants.  I am guessing my mind wanted to stay a bit longer in the cozy clothes, have another cup of coffee and hang in the cottage at the beach.  Until next time Taim!

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You can visit Taim Boutique at 1259 S Pacific Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, Ca. or follow them along on Instagram and Facebook to see some fab looks from the store that have been pulled together by Kendra.  No matter where you are located, Taim will ship anything you see on Instagram directly to you!

The Beach House Baking cookbook giveaway ends in one day!  Make sure you enter soon by visiting here.

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“If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it.  Anything you want to, do it.  Want to change the world, there is nothing to it” – Willy Wonka

Chocolate. Gummy Bears.  Candy Bars.  Cake.  Licorice.  Ice Cream.  Soda.

It is hard to image a place that could really bring together all the greatest sweet indulgences that we lust after when watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  A fantasy world that could make any child’s mouth water, not knowing where to begin and never wanting it to end?  It can’t be possible.  Or is it?

Last week we were invited in to Sweet XO in Huntington Beach to experience their store and I do not think the kids realized the fantasy world they were about to enter.  The second we walked in they were surrounded by every sweet treat you could possibly image.  Candy.  Frozen Yogurt.  Cake Bombs.  Soda Fountain.  Ice Cream.  There heads began spinning as they were not sure which direction to go in.  Along with candy, the shelves were filled with unique and entertaining gifts, books, clothing, bags, glasses, notepads.  You name it, they had it.  I had expected the candy portion but was blown away with how much retail there was.  From baby gifts, to graduation gifts, bachelorette parties to a teen’s birthday, Father’s Day or a hostess gift, you can really find something for everyone throughout the store.  While I perused the merchandise, the children fill their bags with gummy rattlesnakes, jaw breakers, gummy fish, and numerous other goodies.

Once the bags were full, they began to indulge in numerous tastings of frozen yogurt and the homemade ice cream.   With every turn there was another creative flavor such as “Circus Animal” or “Frozen” (my daughter about died with this one) or “Dole Pineapple”, making their decisions on what they actually wanted extremely hard.  The hardest decision of the day was for my Oldest, deciding between the ice cream, frozen yogurt or the soda fountain that offered 125 different flavors.  Like I said, a candy paradise.  As for me, I had my eye on the cake bombs and quickly grabbed the birthday cake and maple bacon flavors before another customer cleaned them out (they sell out extremely quick!).

Like any kid in a Candy Store, we laughed, shopped, ate and all walked out on a crazy sugar high.  It was our own little Willy Wonka paradise.

You can visit Sweet XO in Huntington Beach at 7631 Edinger Avenue, Suite 151.  They also have four other locations around Southern California.  You can view the list here.

Thank you Sweet XO for having us!

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Stuart

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The Spire Giveaway closed over the weekend.  Congratulations to Sharon for winning the Turquoise Tribal Necklace!

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One of the greatest challenges of being pregnant is figuring out what to wear.  If you are anything like me, you will absolutely refuse maternity clothes for as long as you possibly can, determined to deliver your baby without the need for an elastic waistband and tent shirts.  I couldn’t deal with the maternity clothes I would see.  Through all three pregnancies I did my best to stay out of “Maternity” stores and shop with all the non-pregnant women but it got hard at times.  What I did not realize was that Xpecting Boutique was sitting pretty on 17th Street in Costa Mesa and could have made the entire maternity shopping experience SO MUCH BETTER.  My loss.

The good news is that Xpecting is beginning to transition.  What was known as THE maternity boutique is now becoming THE mom boutique.  Stephani Clymer, the owner of Xpecting Boutique, has two young sons of her own and realized that though she was helping women feel stylish and put together when they were pregnant but what happened next?  Once the baby has arrived, the moms were done being pregnant but had entered a world where comfort is key, quality is a necessity and style is something they did not want to sacrifice.  This is when Stephani realized that it was time to transition Xpecting from simply a maternity store to a lifestyle boutique for moms, regardless of which stage of motherhood they are in.  To make it easy, every tag lets you know if it is maternity or something that is not maternity.  See a pregnant woman on the tag alone?  Yep, that one is maternity.  See a pregnant woman standing next to a non-pregnant woman?  That is not maternity, though may work for some.  Genius idea isn’t it?

I am definitely done being pregnant but had such a wonderful time shopping the boutique, trying on a million items, all extremely comfortable, reasonably priced and easy closet staples for any mom.  Some of my favorites filled the store like Michael Stars and DL Denim, making it easy to pick up pieces to try on.  I took home some extremely versatile pieces that have now been placed on constant rotation.  I love that Xpecting is embracing the entire life of a mom, offering everything from maternity bras to dresses for a night out with the hubby sans kids.  For those who are expecting, you will find everything you need from those first few days of being pregnant to leaving the hospital.  For those who are not, you will love the merging of comfort and style, perfect for our days at school pick up, practices and the park.

You can visit Xpecting Boutique at 369 E. 17th Street #20, Costa Mesa, California.  If you are not local, Stephani is always posting photos of new merchandise on instagram and you can call her to order anything you are interested in at (949)574-2184.

Happy Mommy Shopping.

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Here is a look at some of the pieces I picked up by Fresh Laundry (shorts), Tart (sweater), and Luna California (wrap dress).  They are so easy to wear, go with everything and make for the perfect summer looks.  Thank you Xpecting Boutique for having me!

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So this brown eyed girl has been living in a haze and NOT EVEN REALIZING that an incredible Blue Eyed Girl boutique with four locations across Southern California actually had one right in her backyard.  BACKYARD.  To make it all the more silly, she has actually driven RIGHT BY it NUMEROUS times without realizing it was there…FOR 10 YEARS.  This is all madness I tell you. Fortunately for her, she has discovered it and that it really only takes about 5 minutes to get there.  In fact, if her car wasn’t working, she could just run there.  Good news for her, bad news for the bank account.

Tucked away in San Juan Capistrano, Blue Eyed Girl offers an incredible mix of classic pieces from collections such as Bailey 44 and Joie, with whimsical and bohemian pieces from collections such as The Odells and Free People.  I slowly walked the store, filling an entire dressing room of dresses, skirts, tops and jackets.  And that was just the clothes.  Add an incredible shoe collection, lingerie, beauty products, jewelry and all sorts of little goodies and you have a perfect one-stop-shop boutique!  Each location carries some of the same yet some different items specific to their location, catering to their clientele and ensuring there is something there for anyone who walks through the doors.

It may have taken me some time to find Blue Eyed Girl in San Juan but it is definitely not going to take me much time to go back.

Along with their San Juan Capistrano location (located at 31103 Rancho Viejo Road), there are also Blue Eyed Girl boutiques located in Laguna NiguelLaguna Beach and Santa Barbara.  If you are not local, you can also shop on their website here.  
When it comes to my personal style, I tend to carry two very different extremes.  On one hand, I can be very conservative.  I love clean lines, structured pieces and will very often fall to the color scheme of white, black and grey.  You will see these looks most often while attending meetings, formal events and dinners.  It is the classic simplicity that I love about these looks.  

And then there is the other side of my style.

The other side loves to be laid back and worry-free.  That is the Orange County way isn’t it?  Beach days.  Drinks outside with friends on a warm summer evening.  Casual afternoons on Balboa Island.  Weekends in Santa Ynez.  Out goes the blazers, pencil skirts and heels and in comes the ponchos, cut offs and booties.  I am always on the look out for lines that offer this laid-back lifestyle.  In comes 16th Colony.

Created by Renee Rogers, 16th Colony is an Irvine based line which focuses on outerwear for the chic bohemian.  Her line of ponchos is absolutely stunning and you can see the amount of detail and care she takes in designing each one. 


After following Renee’s instagram for a bit I couldn’t help but fall in love with her pieces and decided I must visit her studio to see how they all come together.  Renee and I met on Monday to talk design, business, and a little peak at what was to come with 16th Colony.

Renee was incredibly welcoming and it took only a minute for us to get chatting about EVERYTHING.  Don’t you love meeting someone you can picture yourself having a glass of wine with at Happy Hour?  She explained how 16th Colony was developed, a concept that she created after attending FIDM and working as a designer for a number of labels.  She recognized a need for that classic, wear-all-the-time piece that women love to live in.  And she nailed it.  Her fabrics are divine, the fit reaches all sizes (she is petite and I am a giant…amazingly they fit us both extremely well) and she takes care to ensure all products are of the highest quality.  I got lost in all the pieces and instantly began imagining them being worn with cut offs for a BBQ, as a cover up at the beach, or thrown over skinnies and a white tee for dinner.  Each piece offers so much versatility that everyone will find their favorite way to wear them.  I was also able to preview the Fall collection, which will be available in August and it is AMAZING.  No photos were allowed but you will want to keep an eye out for it.  I already have my order in.  


16th Colony is currently available in a number of boutiques through out California, Hawaii and the UK.  Even better, they are currently conducting an online Flash Sale from now until Sunday, offering 40% off the entire collection online with the code “FLASH40″ at checkout.  The perfect time to pick up some pieces for summer!  Click here to begin shopping.


Thank you Renee and 16th Colony for having me.  
I am looking forward to spending some summer days in 16th Colony.


The final stop of my retail therapy in Los Olivos was Waxing Poetic, a jewelry, charms, candles and housewares boutique.  You may have heard of Waxing Poetic as they has been mentioned in a number of publications and is not only available in their two boutiques (Los Olivos and Summerland) but also in numerous boutiques across the country.  The last time I was in Los Olivos they were in a different location so I was excited to visit the new store and of course, peruse all the dainty treasures.

When you enter the store, you immediately feel as if you are in someone’s living room.  Books line the walls, there is a beautiful writing desk and you are surrounded by intricately designed charms, jewelry, scarves and candles…just to name a few.  I found myself getting lost in the store as I immediately began thinking of all the sentimental gifts that I could pick up here.  Something for the bride, for your pregnant sister, your mother, a first communion.  Truly, they have embraced the moments of life and created opportunities for you to give something that is just not a gift but something that will be held on to forever.  I may have also started my own “wish list” for the hubby while I was inside.  As with all the boutiques I visited while in the valley, the customer service was phenomenal and even though I have discovered all the locations Waxing Poetic is available in Orange County, there is still something special about being in this store in Los Olivos.  It is a very special little place.


You can visit the Los Olivos boutique at 2477 Alamo Pintado Ave. or click here to find where Waxing Poetic is sold near you.  

I also recommend following them on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with their new pieces.


Nestled next door to my favorite coffee house in Los Olivos is Wendy Foster, a boutique that exudes classic sophistication with a relaxed country feel.  The walls are filled with art representing the Santa Ynez Valley while the tables and racks are filled with simple yet chic pieces that fit right into the Los Olivos lifestyle…or any lifestyle for that matter.  With designers such as Vince, Joie and Current Elliott alongside local designers such as Emily Rosendahl, there was just too much goodness in one place for me to handle.  The staff was extremely friendly and I had a wonderful time chatting with them while I shopped.  Just like I said with yesterday’s visit, I will definitely be back.      


Wendy Foster is located at 2928 San Marcos Ave., Los Olivos, Ca. with additional locations in Santa Barbara.  I highly suggest following their Instagram account to see all the new merchandise they receive, along with shots from their life in Los Olivos.   


A few months ago I began following the Plenty Boutique in Santa Ynez on Instagram and knew instantly that they were a “must stop” the next time I was up there.  The pieces they showcased and the travels they took gave me the sense that I was going to like this place.

It was better than I even expected!  I adore their ability to bring the ethereal and wonderlust feeling of the valley that I love so much into a beautiful boutique filled with all sorts of treasures.  It was a bohemian paradise.  Everywhere I looked their was something that caught my eye.  The boutique began from two friends who make their own jewelry and you could spend hours looking through every piece.  Racks are filled with Free People, Stone Cold Fox, J Brand, Bella Luxx and many other brands that share in the laid back yet sexy feel you often see in Orange County.  If you are not in the mood for clothes or jewelry, there are a number of bags, bath products, hats, scarves and numerous other accessories scattered throughout the boutique.  It was cozy, welcoming and fun to shop.  It was such a lovely experience and I will definitely be back.


Plenty Boutique is located at 1110 Faraday St., Santa Ynez. California.  
I highly suggest following them on Instagram and liking them on Facebook to preview their incoming merchandise and events. 

* No compensation was provided for this post.  When I see something I love, I want to share it!