A 'Surprise' Branch of My Family Tree

Last weekend Scott and I made our annual trip to Newport Beach to see a  surprise ‘branch’ of my family tree. This side of my family, the Swansons, are my birth family. I am the oldest sibling, adopted to another family at birth. Rod and Dorie are my full-blooded brother and sister and were raised by their parents never knowing there was an older sister.  A number of family members knew about that first baby-but not these two.


Dorie always thought she was the oldest sibling (nope!). I think that makes us even more alike-two first born sisters.  We’ve never had a fight, though she laughs and says maybe we should “just to say we did”.

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How to Create Resort Wear Out of a Bra & Belt (when your luggage is delayed)

How to Create Resort Wear Out of a Bra & Belt (when your luggage is delayed)

Having no luggage for the first 4 days of our Caribbean vacation was a good reminder to always be prepared with well stocked carry on luggage. If you followed our trip to the Dominican Republic in July you will know that our journey took some unexpected turns.

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Curated Hotel: Paradise Found at Zoetry Agua Punta Cana in Dominican Republic

Curated Hotel: Paradise Found at Zoetry Agua Punta Cana in Dominican Republic

Five days into our Caribbean vacation in the Dominican Republic we found it…..pure bliss. Our journey started with a flight to San Francisco just following a tragic plane crash–cancelled flights and an unplanned evening in Manhattan. Lost luggage and a tropical storm did not deter us from seeking our much needed R and R.

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Birthday in Paradise at Zoetry in Dominican Republic!

I've always been secretly happy that my birthday is on July 15th and smack dab in the middle of summer. It means I've never had to go to school and usually not to work on my birthday.

This year the timing was perfect for my birthday as we are enjoying our last couple of days in the tropical paradise of Dominican Republic.

My favorite birthday companion #spoiled me a bit

With a significant number of difficulties marking the beginning of our trip this phase at Zoetry Agua has been completely sublime.

This little guy has kept us company during breakfast on our terrace.

Some spa time made the birthday girl very happy.

I'm not politically minded and I thought it was fun to see that Jon Stewart had 'favorited' one of my tweets.

Our dinner with some of our new fabulous friends from the pool. We laughed and bombed out at a merengue dance lesson together later.

Thanks for making my birthday perfect and hopefully we will all end up at Zoetry again someday!

I just wanted to say a quick thank you for so many lovely birthday wishes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and text.

I feel truly blessed this year that my world has expanded in so many

incredible ways. The connections I've made with Stylemindchic Life mean the world to me.

Happy Birthday to my lovely mom today! Though we are separated by distance our birthdays always

stand side by side (she always tells me I was an early birthday present).

Looking forward to celebrating together.

Thanks for stopping by Stylemindchic Life!

Can't wait to catch up with everyone on our return.


                                         Curated Collections at my Stylemindchic Boutique!

Paradise Found at Zoetry Agua in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The pool at Zoetry Agua Punta Cana

If you've been following Stylemindchic blog, and this journey to Punta Cana, you know that the early part of our trip was not an easy one. We had more than our share of delays due to the plane crash and lost luggage for days. We finally got our luggage and swimsuits when a tropical storm was forecast so the pool and beach were closed.  There were challenges all around......(and a few bright spots too-an unexpected night in Manhattan and Juan at the spa, Clare and Carlos at Secrets-thank you).

As of yesterday we have finally arrived at our true paradise. Zoetry Agua Punta Cana here is pure relaxation, tranquility and zen bliss. We finally feel rested for the first time and intend to make use of every moment of the rest of our vacation. I will post more on this incredible place and if you are seeking relaxation, peace, luxury, privacy, gorgeous beaches with a healthy vibe this could be your place too. So far our favoritedestination ever.

And now, back to my vacation

(although posting from our thatched roofed terrace overlooking the lazy river and ocean is my idea of the perfect spot!).

My view from the terrace


Creating a Welcoming Guest Room

Creating a Welcoming Guest Room

Be my guest! It's finally the summer season which means many of us will be doing some travel of some variety. It may be a luxury resort, a tour, a road trip, a camping adventure or visiting friends and loved ones for a vacation. With that in mind, I've been in the mood to update our guest room for summertime guests.

Start with freshly laundered, high thread count (read smooth)  sheets.  I love to use all white sheets in our guest room for a fresh feel. I add a lightweight comforter, either down or hypo-allergenic (best for those with allergies). This bold black and white duvet cover captured my eye the other day and I'm liking the additional pop it gives the room.  I layer on a colorful coverlet, this one is DKNY, folded at the lower edge of the bed which can be added for cooler nights to adjust the level of warmth.

I always add fresh flowers~tuberoses, freshly cut roses or white lilies have lovely scents. Gardenias are fresh and fragrant from our garden during the summer season. I like to float them in a pretty vase or bowl. 

My mom, Jeri, is a flower lover and had fresh flowers from her garden in the house, most days, while I was growing up. This small tradition definitely makes life a little more beautiful. 

Lightly scented candles (don't forget the matches!) are another favorite touch.My current favorite is the Dayna Decker candle.  I always include an alarm clock but hopefully, no one will need to use it during a relaxing visit.

This glass dish is originally from my husband's family. Scott's mother had labeled it (using tape and waterproof pen) with this caption 'Daddy State's candy dish 1800's'. Labeling family heirlooms adds is an instant reminder to the family of the history of the piece. A history that might otherwise be forgotten.

Fluffy white towels are always a must in my house. Magazines for early or late night reading is a nice touch to deal with insomnia. I often include a travel magazine for dreaming about the next adventure.  Putting items in a welcoming basket is a good way for your quests to know you thought of them in preparation for the visit. This Kai perfume oil smells like a tropical holiday in a spritz.

When I travel I easily get dehydrated so a carafe of water within easy reach is essential to quench the dreaded midnight thirst.I like to change out the photo based on who is visiting. Our girls are our most frequent overnighters so I love to use this one from our trip to Cabo San Lucas in 2007.

On a tray, I include some favorite spa items like the MOR body butter, sugar scrub, and fragrant soaps.

A light summer weight robe is also a nice touch to avoid any 'mishaps' around the house. #tmiThis chic number in Greek key motif is one of my favorites.

A corner chair is always handy for conversation or putting on shoes.

This little sparkler was a find from Target.

The vintage print and two petite florals painted by my mom, Jeri, many years ago are special to me. Aren't they sweet?

My final tip~Stock up on toiletries and extra supplies for guests in the guest bathroom. I always supply toothbrushes & toothpaste, lotions, deodorant, band-aids, anti-bacterial ointment, and aspirin.

Typically my recommendation is that a weekend or long weekend is the perfect length of time for a visit. You know what they say about how guests and fish alike don't you??(After three days they both begin to stink.......ha ha ha -just jokes here!!;) I tend to follow that rule when I am a guest in someone else's home as well. 

Leave 'em wanting more.... also a great motto for life!

If you are welcoming guests this summer or being a house guest yourself,here's to long lazy mornings catching up over coffee, walking and talking, belly laughs and shared sunsets, with a glass of wine, enjoying those you love. 

Are you having house guests this summer? 

How are your travel plans shaping up? 


Al Fresco Life and Living Outside

Al Fresco Life

The al fresco lifestyle is all about taking life outside.  It's finally spring (joy!) and that means we are gearing up for the season of throwing open our windows, carrying our movable feasts to dine alfresco, the alluring possibility of lazy afternoon naps on the patio and warm evenings under the stars is on the horizon.

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In Italian alfresco means "in the cool". Love that!


 It may be a fresh, sleek space with natural elements

or a classic, luxurious elegance with warm wood tones and a roaring fire.

There are elements of each photo that appeal to me. I've done outdoor living spaces of different styles over the years~from South of France to Cottage Garden to a sleeker, more modern version in our current space. We are working on an update and I will share more on that soon (yep-a do it yourself project-more honestly a do it 'himself' project).

No matter what my style of outdoor living space becomes I do have some essentials:

*Candles are a must to create an ambiance in my outdoor spaces.

*The sound of water~ a water feature, water fall or even a tabletop fountain~ creates a relaxing mood

*Fragrant plants (citrus, night blooming jasmine, tuberoses are all lovely)

*A throw blanket to ward off an evening chill

*A pot of herbs to pick for grilling or adding to alfresco dishes

*I love to add a curtain to a deck or patio space to soften the look-even in sleeker styles

*A fire element. Yes, to candles and the next step would be a flickering fire bowl or fireplace to set the mood.




What is your favorite style of outdoor living? Do you spend time zhushing up your space to get it ready for the season? Any tips?

What are your must-haves?

Here's to our upcoming al fresco season~are you like me? Can hardly wait!



Wine Country Getaway [Napa Style!]

Wine Country Getaway [Napa Style!]

Just a week ago Northern California was experiencing temperatures 15-20 degrees above normal which is pretty perfect for a long weekend. Scott and I had a getaway planned to Napa so the timing was good.  On a sun-splashed day we got up early, threw open the sunroof and made the 2 1/2 hour trip to Napa.  As we were driving over, I had a memory of a lovely estate off Silverado Trail. It sat high on the hill, with cypress lining the drive.  The flagstone terraces flanked a perfectly placed vanishing edge pool....at least that is how I remembered it. I made it my mission to find it.....and we did!

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