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Ponchos for Everyone


What do you do with a reluctant autumn? It's cold at night, and in the morning, but during the day temperatures warm up to the mid-70s and it makes sense to still be wearing summer garb. So I'm embracing a poncho instead of the usual light weight toppers: sweatshirts, fleeces, or cardigans. Sometimes, you just need a different look and a poncho has an effortless ease that fits most occasions. Although a poncho might conjure images of Boho chic styles with fringe and tassels, there are some sleek choices available as well; even a few that are tailored and crisp. Whether you break out the faded flares, rock boyfriend jeans, leggings, trousers, culottes or even mini skirts, there's a poncho for everyone. 

Beauty Blast: Herbivore Botanicals—Bath Soak

After a pretty stressful summer, I've been on the search for things that are soothing and comforting, with No. 1 being bath remedies. There are a lot of options on the market and plenty that are full of a long list of incomprehensible ingredients. That's not what I wanted. I was looking for something luxurious, fragrant and simple. And I found it in Herbivore Botanicals, an all natural line that I recently discovered and can't rave enough about. (It's also sold in my hometown at Stripe.) 

Based in Seattle, Wash., the company, "sources the finest raw natural materials the earth has to offer, from Japanese Bamboo Charcoal to Brazilian gemstones, to formulate products that are luxurious and all natural by combining essential vitamins, minerals and botanicals to restore skin to its optimum health and vitality."

Not only that, but the products are remarkable. I'll be reviewing a few items in the weeks to come. 

Of the bath and body products, I had a chance to try the middle one pictured above, the Coconut Bath Soak, and it delivers on its promises to, "leave your skin silky soft and smelling of coconut and natural vanilla." I can't recommend it enough. 

Check out the $28 Coconut Bath Soak here. 


Designer Profiles: Corral Made

The Penny Rose • Designer Profiles • Corral Made from The Penny Rose on Vimeo.

In this month's video series by filmmaker Deva Blaisdell-Anderson, we highlight the stunning work of Jose Hernandez from Corral Made. Get to know the story behind this leather line of accessories. 


Beauty Review: Ultraluxe is ultra luxe

Usually, with a trial size of a beauty product, you really can't get a good read on a line. You honestly have to use it for several weeks to get a good sense on whether it works or not, the changes it made on your skin, and whether you'd purchase it again. But that's not the case with the Ultraluxe line that I recently sampled. This stuff works—literally—on first use. 

As a beauty blogger who has acne-prone skin, I usually can't sample many products and write about them. I have to pass them off to fellow writers at The Penny Rose to review a line. But when Ultraluxe crossed my desk, I was intrigued. The powerhouse brand has a signature line that's created just for acne-prone and sensitive skin, and it's not one of those harsh lines that will strip your skin and leave it raw. This is a line that works. 

I sampled a bunch of the line's favorites including its Mud Lavender Wash, Deep Pore Clarifying Serum, Omega-3 Repair Complex, and Hydrasoft Lotion (among others). These were four of my favorites.

First up was the wash which left my skin soft and refreshed, not tight and dry like many acne washes do. The Deep Pore Clarifying Serum is said to diminish breakouts and oiliness and leave skin with a "healthy complexion." It did exactly that. The Omega-3 Repair Complex was one of my favorites. Usually, acne-prone skin types are urged to never use oils on their skin because of breakout concerns, but this oil puts those ideas to rest. Made exclusively for oily/acneic skin, this oil refreshed and hydrated my skin and actually made it look and feel clear. Finally, the Hydrasoft Lotion did just that: it left my often bumpy, ruddy skin with a soft texture. And no zits. Ever. 

Bottom line: I can't recommend this line enough. Learn more at


Fall Fashion in Santa Cruz

Clothing: Shoes, Maguba Clogs, Navy, $148, Stripe / Jeans, Mother, Rascal, Dark Wash, $205, Pacific Trading Company / Top, Elk, Chambray, $94, Stripe / Jacket, Eileen Fisher, $498, Pacific Trading Company / Scarf, Mara Snipes, $110, Stripe / Bag, Corral Made Tote, $298, Stripe / Hat, Olive & Pique, Panama, $40, Stripe / Earrings, Sharelli, $133, Artisans Gallery / Ring, Tiger Lilly, $50, Artisans Gallery. This story first appeared in Santa Cruz Waves magazine.

As fall fashion breezes into town, cut-offs and spaghetti strap tanks take a back seat to warmer looks. This season calls for smart layering, ocean-inspired hues, chunky outerwear, and individualized accent pieces. Seen here, Pleasure Point resident Stephanie models the latest looks that speak to how Santa Cruz women can embody the fall trends and make them their own. 

Her mission: To take Santa Cruz (and the ever-changing weather and tides) by literal fashion storm. First up—jeans, of course, because every local woman wears them. But how do you mix it up and have a fashion forward point of view? Go for a dark wash like these Mother jeans from Pacific Trading Company. This straight leg version complements all body types. But don’t drag them around. Lift the hems by adding a cuff. A small rolled hem is playful and charming. 

Next on the list: build your wardrobe from the jeans up. Pulling off the monochromatic look can be tricky, but Stephanie nails it by using blue as a grounding color. Add a chambray boxy top from Stripe (in a contrasting denim shade) to make the outfit sing. Then, she digs in her heels with a pair of striking navy Maguba clogs (a must-have shoe for the season), because any local style setter knows she needs to kick off her shoes in a flash if the ocean beckons.

Next up: insert texture and patterns. This indigo linen scarf is eye-catching and cozy at the same time and can be wrapped in myriad creative ways around the shoulders and neck. Add a cocoon shaped coat in a classic fall shade of brown to honor the season and stay warm at the same time.

The finishing touches: a hat is required for the season. Make it playful and polished by choosing one with a floppy brim and a sleek ribbon. The camel color seen here ties the whole look together.

Then, add your jewelry. The minimalism look has been going strong for a few seasons and is continuing to ride the wave of popularity. Make it your own by finding original pieces at Artisans Gallery like these matte gold hoops and over-sized ring.

Finish your fall look with a bag that’s practical, memorable and worth the investment. This striking leather creation by Corral Made, a local line, offers inside and outside pockets as well as comfortable straps and a buckle that will keep your goods tucked safely inside. It’s roomy enough to house your scarf when the sun comes out to play (like it always does in Santa Cruz), and can also comfortably fit a water bottle, novel and more essentials for a spontaneous jaunt to the beach. 

About the shoot: Santa Cruz Waves magazine teamed up with The Penny Rose to create this editorial fashion spread. Photographer Nick Chao captured these images during a photo shoot at Pleasure Point, while Christa Martin styled and produced the project.

Crew: Photographer, Nick Chao / Stylist, Creative Director, Christa Martin for The Penny Rose / Model, Stephanie Armstrong / Makeup, Jillian Wilkey for Salon on the Square / Hair, Tara Murphy for Salon on the Square