Monica Vinader – An Interview with our own Jacquelyn Kazas

I recently got the amazing honor of modeling Monica Vinader jewelry in honor of their pop up shop in Orange County, or as it’s so lovingly referred to – The OC.  I met up with a few of their amazing representatives at one of my favorite spots in Orange County, Lido Marina Village.  We drank some wine and talked about everything under the sun and took some photos.  

They shared them on their site a few weeks ago, you can see the interview on their site here, but I wanted to share the interview with all of you!  Keep reading to hear all about how I got started in the events industry and a few of my favorite pieces from their beautiful collection.  I’ll give you a hint, it’s EVERYTHING!!!

You are the go-to for event planning in the OC, how did you start out? 

I started doing event design & planning after my own wedding in 2012.  I fell in love with the design and planning process.  After my wedding I was almost depressed that the planning was over, haha!  I also had a great planner for my wedding, Tori Hendrix of Sitting in a Tree, who helped pave the way for me.  She advised me when getting into the industry and introduced me to great vendors and contacts.  Tori passed away last year and I’m forever grateful to her for inspiring me to take a jump into this field.  She continues to inspire me every day.

What keeps you going in such a hectic industry?

I have always been a hard working and determined person.  I’m also quite competitive, I played soccer competitively for years and it’s just in my nature a bit… Almost to a fault because I can be pretty hard on myself.  So that definitely keeps me going.  I also think my family drives me, especially my husband and my sons.  I want to do my best for them and be successful to inspire them as well.

What about for those of us just wanting to throw a fabulous party? What are the key elements to a memorable event?

It definitely depends on the event, I’d say the most important thing is being true to your own vision and style.  The next is to make a plan, don’t leave things to the last minute.  You want to enjoy yourself at the party and make it easy on yourself and be attentive to your guests.  Good food and drinks are always memorable, along with gorgeous florals and great music!

Surprise is an element we often associate with parties, can you share with us a surprise you helped engineer to perfection?

Well, I’m actually working on a surprise 30th birthday party that will take place this weekend!  This is a special one as it’s for one of my favorite photographers I’ve had the privilege to work with.  She has definitely become a close friend now.  I’m really excited for this one as we have some sentimental surprises, which of course are the best kind!  When you’re planning a party for someone you know, the key thing is to think about them, not yourself.  You want to wow them and make it their style, something they would love and plan for themselves.  I think this one is going to knock her socks off!!

What’s your perfect party outfit in the Orange County (for both the planner and party goer) and what jewelry do you incorporate?

When I first arrive to an event to set up I love wearing something comfortable and easy to move in.  Also, pockets are key!!  Lately I wear my Lulu Lemon pants with pockets, they are my favorite.  While the event is going on I’ll change into a dress.  Most of the time I love a good maxi dress, but I’ll definitely do something short if it’s comfortable as well.  Again, pockets are nice to have to carry anything I may need. 

For guests I think the best thing to wear is something fun and colorful.  Don’t get me wrong, a good classic is always nice, but we live in sunny Southern California, so embrace it and go bold!!  I guarantee, the photographer at the event is more likely to notice you that way as well!  As far as jewelry, I love wearing rings no matter what I’m doing, whether I’m working or attending.  They are functional and as a mom of a 10 month old, they don’t get tugged or pulled on!

Since becoming a mom, you’ve made children’s birthday parties your forte. What do you enjoy most about planning these and has there been a party that stands out in your mind?

I do everything from weddings to corporate events to showers or adult birthday parties, you name it.  But kid’s birthday parties have to be one of my favorites!  What I especially love is that there is always a different and fun theme to play with.  Sometimes they are a challenge, which I love, but it’s not just your average event.  Plus, they are a bit less stressful in the sense that everyone is just so darn happy to celebrate those kiddos.  It’s hard to pick one that stands out, but I would have to say planning my friend Tori’s daughter’s mermaid themed birthday was the most special.

If we are planning on celebrating in the OC, where is a great place to kick up our heels or sink in the sand?

There are so many fun spots to celebrate in the OC!  I love Lido Marina Village, there are some great restaurants and the views are great being right on the water.  It’s a great place to go with your family or on a date night.  I also love Laguna, there are so many great places to eat and grab a cocktail there!  Basically anything by the water is good in my book!

What jewelry style do you think is synonymous with your Californian style?

There are so many Monica Vinander pieces I love, especially the pieces you can layer.  I try to keep my style looking effortless.  I love the idea of having my jewelry be pieces I never take off, like they are a part of me.  Something I can wear from day to night, from the beach to an event.  Layering the friendship bracelets with any of the siren pieces, specifically in amazonite or rose quartz would be my favorites.  I love the color in the siren pieces, they make them pop and I love that the friendship bracelets are casual but luxe.

If you could plan a party for all your friends and give Monica Vinader gifts as party favors, what piece would you choose and what would you engrave on it?

I’m a huge rose gold fan! I love the Fiji Friendship Bracelet, I’d do it in rose gold for all my best gals and I’d probably do something specific to each person.  Something that reminds me of them so they know I thought of them.

What would you engrave on your own Monica Vinader bracelet and why?

For my own bracelet I’d probably engrave my husband and my wedding date or the coordinates for where we got married.  We are celebrating our 5 year anniversary this year and I feel like all of my recent engravable purchases have been about my kids.  It’s time to give him some love!  

You need to check out Monica Vinader ASAP!  I love their pieces because they are feminine and delicate but also have so much personality!  I know you all will love them!  And if you are in the OC area be sure to check out their pop up shop!

Happy Friday guys!!



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By on July 21, 2017 in Uncategorized


The Best Sunscreen and Tips for Protecting your Skin from the Sun all Summer

Most people, like myself, love the Summer and being in the sun.  It’s the time to get outside and enjoy the great weather and also get a tan!  With that being said, it’s also SO important to use sun protection.  I grew up with my aunt being an esthetician who had me wearing sunscreen daily from when I was 10 years old.  It’s a habit I’m grateful she instilled in me and one I’m still strict about today.

Photos by Nea Nabayan

I recently signed up for monthly facials from Facial Lounge in Newport Beach.  Facial Lounge is an amazing skincare boutique that offers advanced treatments focusing on organic products.  Amber Johnson, the owner, is first of all hilarious but also extremely well versed in everything skin care.  She’s a medically trained esthetician and has created Facial Lounge to share her passion and her skincare philosophies and expertise. She believes that all treatments should be effective and safe.

One of the things she said to my sister, who got me started with them, that sticks out in my mind is… “Why do people spend so much money and time on their nails getting manicures and pedicures every month?  They should be focusing on their face and their skin.”  I had never thought about it that way and it’s SO true!!  

Our face and our skin are the first thing people see and the first thing we see when we look in the mirror!  And it’s what needs the most attention and care.

So let’s talk sunscreen…  My last visit with Amber we talked about the products I was using on my face.  Things I thought were pretty clean and good, but Amber told me about this app Think Dirty.  If you haven’t heard of it then you should definitely check it out!

It helps educate the consumer on the cosmetics industry by allowing them to make an informed decision on what products to purchase.  When I looked at it and talked to Amber more, I was shocked how poorly some of the products I was using that I thought were “clean” ranked on Think Dirty.

Amber talked to me about how the beauty industry isn’t regulated like the food and drug industry.  That there are even hormone disruptor chemicals in many products that have been possibly linked to breast cancer.  Things that I thought were so simple and common like lip gloss or even deodorant have so many bag chemicals in them!  So that’s when Amber started showing me the cleanest and best products for me, and I want to share them with you!

Today I’m talking about the sun and sunscreen so I will focus on that!  The best sunscreen Amber can recommend is Coola.  First of all, it is organic and vegan.  Secondly it is SPF per application, most sunscreens are SPF per bottle, which I didn’t know!  They are also full spectrum which is UVA and UVB protection.  Most moisturizers and make up only have UVB for burns, not UVA which helps with aging, skin cancer and discoloration.

Here’s a little bit more about Coola, straight from their website…

“Our quest is to spoil your sometimes finicky, always worthy skin with the most pure, eco-conscious products possible. After all, you may obsess over what you put in your body, but think about what you put on it. We thought about it, quite a bit actually, and we consciously chose to develop our line using as many ingredients as possible that are natural, organic, sustainable and locally sourced, much like the foods we prefer to eat.

Green, yet still luxurious, each of our high performance products protect and nourish the skin with vitamins and age-defying antioxidants, while remaining free of parabens, paba and phthalates.”

More I love about them…

“Our full line of luxury sun and skincare products incorporate a Farm to Face sourcing philosophy, using the freshest and most natural ingredients whenever possible. Look for our organic formulas that contain over 70% certified organic ingredients and are easily identified by our organic seals.

Additionally, we formulate with Plant Protection, which allows us to achieve clinically tested, broad spectrum and antioxidant-rich protection while using fewer traditional actives. Better for your skin, better for the environment.”

Coola also has a great product if you want color without the sun, according to Amber it’s the most natural beautiful color and smells so good!!  You can find it here.  All of her favorite sunscreens can be purchased here as well!

Something Amber also gets asked about all the time is how to take care of your sun burn…. Ouch!  You can shop her favorite products to soothe and treat a sun burn here.  Her favorite is this Sea Whip Gelle Masque because it takes out the heat.

Now there’s a little heath and beauty info for you!  I’ve been using Coola so far this Summer and love it!!  And if you want to have an amazing facial and talk to Amber herself, book with the Facial Lounge!  I guarantee you will love it!  Amber is also giving us a 15% discount to use on any products to shop online!  Use VIP15!!

Enjoy the sun this Summer but be sure to protect your skin!



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By on July 20, 2017 in BEAUTY, SKINCARE


Sundresses for Summer – Jacquelyn’s Picks for Staying Stylish in the Heat

Are you guys melting away like me this Summer?!  I can’t believe how hot it has been!  We moved a few miles inland from the beach and the change in temperature is about 10-15 degrees warmer… And no AC!  Definitely putting that on the must have list for next Summer!!  I couldn’t imagine it last year when I was pregnant, this year is way worse!!  

With these hot days I love to wear something easy and breezy, enter the sundress!  A Summer essential.  Of course I always love my tank or tee and cut offs, but sundresses are so light and you look just a bit more put together.  Add some sunnies, a hat and some sandals and you are set!  

I have a few cotton sundresses I love, but even those can make a girl sweat.  What I really love are light weight fabrics that aren’t tight and just flow on you.  Those are the dresses you will find me in for the beach, the park, shopping or even a night out.  So here are some that I love and have been wearing so far this season… More of my picks at the end of the post for you to shop too!

Photos by Ariane Moshayedi

Let’s start with my favorite… This gorgeous midi dress by Birds of Paradis… The tassel detail is amazing and the cut and fabric are great.  I just love how it’s lightweight and casual, but you still look very chic.  It also has pockets… I mean, who doesn’t love that?!  Really, it’s the perfect mom dress!  You are covered perfectly can can still chase those kiddos around.  This dress’ price tag is a little high, but well worth the investment.

For all of these outfits I’m wearing my favorite Wyeth Leona sunglasses, Target sandals, James Michelle necklaces, Madewell Tassel earrings and for this one my new favorite Brixton straw hat

Next up, something a little more flirty and fun!  The blue color on this dress by 6 Shore Road is sweet but eye catching.  I love the halter too!  This is definitely one of those day to night dresses.  I would totally wear this as a swim cover up or out on a date – with my husband of course!  When I typed that out and read it to myself it sounded funny, haha!  Which by the way, I’ve been seeing that hashtag #dateyourhusband a lot lately and I love that – now will someonte totally normal come over and babysit?  Haha!

Last but not least, I’ve got my sexy dress on!  The dress that shows all of my boobs, haha!  If you want to know why those things are so prominent in these pics, it’s because of that cute little guy right there!  It’s amazing what our bodies can do, I still think of it while I breastfeed Cruz.  

But real talk!  Mom to mom?  This little guy was screaming crying towards the end of these photos so he had to be in them!  Poor guy is so patient while Mama takes photos, or maybe he just wants to be in them.  Future blogger?

My sexy dress (shhh don’t say, but it’s really called the Elisa dress)  is by Ale by Alessandra – oh you know, that Victoria’s Secret model…  Now we know why it’s a sexy dress…  I’m showing a little bit more cleavage then I normally would, but hey, sometimes you’ve got to!!  

Now if you don’t have AC like me and are sweating while reading this, you really should shop some sundresses below…  Trust me though, I’m not complaining, Summer is the best!!




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By on July 19, 2017 in FASHION, STYLE, SUMMER


Summer Family Game Nights

One of the things that I look forward to the most about summer are the nights. Those warm nights where you can stay up a little later, play outside till it’s dark, and indulge in all those yummy summer treats! Since we have been in our new town, I have been trying to do family date nights as much as possible. I mean we were away from Dad quite awhile, so it’s a fight to who gets him the most! There are so many parks here, and the nights are hot, we love to load up and take our date nights outside. Playing games with the kids not only creates those summer memories but it also teaches the kids sportsmanship, communication, and problem-solving. 

Photos by Megan Bautista

Family time outside is a must for this family. There are so many distractions inside your own home; you’re not giving your full attention. Outside, it’s you, dinner, games, and all those memories to create. One of the many games we love to play outside is dominos. I found this domino set that is perfect for those summer nights. Plus I like that it’s big, so its easier for the kids to play with. Most of the time, they don’t play the way it’s intended and end up building houses out of them. It’s amazing to see how their little minds think!



Here is my roundup of my favorite outdoor games

The best part about these family date nights is that dinner is easy! I like to take the kids to the store that day, and let them pick out some of the items for our al fresco dinner. It not only makes them feel important, but they also will eat it! I don’t know about you, but my kids get so distracted with playing games they never eat! We get home, and it will be bedtime and what do you know, they are hungry. Getting them involved ensures that I will not be making mac and cheese at 10 pm. See all my must haves below for an easy al fresco dinner!


Abby’s Essentials for an Al Fresco Picnic



Summer nights, please don’t end soon!

We can’t get enough of you!

Wardrobe Deets!





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By on July 18, 2017 in FAMILY, SUMMER


An Easy 4 Step Guide to Getting the Best Beachy Hair Waves

Something you may not know about me is, I’m terrible at doing my hair.  I, for the life of me, can’t curl my hair with a curling iron.  I know this may sound ridiculous but it’s true.  It may be the fact that I don’t have the patience, or it my be that I’m just terrible.  Am I the only adult woman with this problem?  Please tell me no!

My sister on the other hand is great in this department.  Lucky me (and poor her), since we lived together most of our lives, she always did my hair for me.  So I never really had to learn… Even though she begged me to, haha.  Now as an adult I can go get blow outs, or if I’m lucky again, have my friend Erica from 1011 Makeup help me out.

Well, I’m a grown up now and it’s time to learn, or at least try.  So I asked Erica to share her tricks with me and teach me how to achieve the best beachy hair waves.  Now, my hair is naturally wavy which is great.  Most days I don’t have the time so I just let it air dry.  But sometimes, to put it bluntly, it looks like crap.  So… It’s about time I learn!

Here are 4 easy steps to getting the best beachy hair waves from the guru herself, Erica.  PS, I did my own hair using these tips this past weekend… I’m not gonna say I fully mastered it yet but it looked pretty good!!!  Baby steps!!

Photos by Alison Bernier


Spray a heat protectant on your hair prior to using any hot tools on your hair. You can section your hair however you would like, pining some hair up and away while you work from the nape of your neck up, or you can just pull hair from the back and work your way to the front.

The size of the barrel you choose to use as your tool will depend on the desired size of the curl, or “looseness” of wave, you would like to achieve (bigger barrel, larger and looser the curl


Rotate the hair around the barrel until the hair is wound. Wrap hair in rotating directions (towards face and away from the face). Start the wrap with the hair close to the scalp working your way to the ends of the hair. Try to hold the ends of the hair with one hand as you curl with the other. This will help to control the hair and keep the hair taut as you work your way down. It will also keep the ends protected from too much heat.

Don’t be afraid to move the iron around so it makes it easier to control. You can direct the iron angled up or you can direct the iron angled down, depending on what side of the head you are working on, and what hand is your dominant hand.


The hair that frames the face should be directed away from the face. Once you have worked your way around the head, you can use your fingers to break up the curls leaving you with loose, tousled, curls.


Spray hair with beach/ sea salt spray and a light finishing spray.  You can also use a light spray wax to give you a more “piecey” look… just don’t overdo the wax or it can weigh down the curl.

Now let’s see if I can keep it up with doing my own hair… If not, good thing I have Erica on speed dial!



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By on July 17, 2017 in BEAUTY, TUTORIAL