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Santa Cruz City Guide on Design*Sponge

In the blogosphere, there are dozens of leading online publications, but at the top of the pack is Design*Sponge, the leading interiors/decor blog spearheaded by Grace Bonney. Last week, The Penny Rose founder/editor Christa Martin wrote a Santa Cruz City Guide for Design*Sponge which you can find here. It's a comprehensive and curated look at Christa's hometown. Enjoy! 


Surfer Girls—This is Your One-Stop Shop

Actually, that headline is a lie. Sawyer Land & Sea Supply in Santa Cruz appeals to much more beyond surfer gals and guys. It’s for travel seekers, weekend warriors, camping comrades, outdoor adventurers, yogis, dog lovers, sea farers, eco-maniacs, Sunset magazine readers, appreciators of local goods and the craftspeople that make them, and even fashionistas (hey what are you going to wear when you’re out in the wilderness?). It’s for anyone who wants to take home a little part of the Santa Cruz lifestyle.

Sawyer Land & Sea Supply is less than a year old, but the aesthetically pleasing shop is fully stocked with an impressive list of local designers, rare brands, and well-made goods, resulting in a strong client base. Stacy Forrester, founder of Sawyer Land & Sea Supply, opened the shop to bring together her love of surfing, travel, and the outdoors.

As I’m writing this, I keep thinking about that recent report which finds Santa Cruz is one of the happiest places in the U.S. And really, Sawyer Land & Sea Supply does seem to capture some of that happiness. Forrester says on her website, “For me, Sawyer is about doing what brings us joy and inspires us." Well, if that isn’t the Santa Cruz lifestyle in a nutshell.

I recently interviewed Forrester to learn more about her shop, starting a business, and her future plans. Be sure to stop by (with your pup!) and check out the shop the next time you’re in Santa Cruz.

What made you want to open Sawyer Land & Sea Supply? 
I was ready for a career change and felt strongly that my store concept to supply quality apparel, surfboards and accessories addressing the Santa Cruz outdoor lifestyle in and out of the water could work. In addition, I wanted to create a venue that would bring a community of like-minded people together to support the arts, music, environmental causes, etc.

What were you doing before? 
I spent the last 12+ years working as a sales rep in the outdoor industry.

Starting a business isn't easy. Any advice for others interested in pursuing the same path?
1) Write a business plan! 
2) Be passionate about your business. 
3) Find balance for yourself, otherwise the business will consume you. You own it, it doesn’t own you.

What makes Sawyer Land & Sea Supply different from other clothing and surf shops? 
Sawyer is different in that we blend outdoor and surf creating an offering that speaks to an active outdoor lifestyle. One can find clothing from Patagonia, Prana, Beyond Yoga, Horny Toad, Aviator Nation, Seea, Ibex, Polar, Kuhl, Marmot, Woolrich, Alternative, etc. We also have custom surfboards from Travis Reynold, Ward Coffey, and Ashley Lloyd. Handplanes and Paipos from Long Ship Designs, and Patagonia wetsuits.

How would you describe your typical customer and his/her style? 
Sawyers customers are amazing people with a love for being outdoors. Some of my customers might need to dress up during the week but when the weekend arrives they want to chill and be comfortable.

What’s your vision for Sawyer Land & Sea Supply five years from now? 
An additional door, launch Sawyer’s clothing line; ten years from now ­sell it all and move to a tropical location where I can surf and swim daily in warm water. 

Any favorite pieces in the shop? 
1) Surfboards—they are beautiful and remind me to get out on the water every chance I have. 
2) Polar Knapsack: it's the best gift ever, especially going into fall/winter. 
3) The local goods ­from Strawfoot bags, Long Ship Designs wood workings, art, jewelry and the Sawyer logo items.

What are you looking forward to for fall? 
Creating a new look for the store with new styles, brands, colors, etc. 

What’s your favorite brand of denim? 
Mother Denim.

What’s your favorite skin care item? 
Bamboo lotion. I don’t know the brand name, but I purchased it after my amazing facial at L’Atelier Day Spa.

What style tip would you give to someone for the upcoming season? 
Be yourself. ­Rock your look, whatever it is.

You’re traveling, and can only bring one bag: what favorite beauty/fashion items stay home, and what must go with? 
My must-haves for a summer get-away include ­Rainbow flips, a favorite T-shirt, usually a white cotton V-neck, a good pair of jeans, sunglasses, toothbrush, skin trip coconut lotion, shorts, swimsuit, a sweatshirt, light jacket, or denim shirt.

Mani or pedi? 

Lip gloss or lip balm? 

Heels or flats? 



Every morning before I know I have to drag my sleepy self out of bed, I allot myself a good 10 minutes to troll the Internet to slowly ease myself out of sleep. It usually takes a beautiful shoe or a new makeup launch of some sort to excite me enough to motivate myself toward the closet. Instagram is a fantastic place to find fashion inspiration and to get an inspiring peek at all things fabulous behind-the-scenes. Here are some Instagrammers that I look to for a bit of inspiration. And if you don’t follow us already, be sure to find us on Instagram @thepennyrose!

Cat Kahn of @knighttcat is known for posting beautiful models (Kate Moss, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, and Candice Swanepoel, to name a few), beachy scenes, and amazing minimal fashion. I especially love all her vintage Kate photos.
Derek Blasberg of @derekblasberg is a fashion writer, editor, and New York Times best-selling author. This Missouri native and Karlie Kloss are BFFs. And, he's a great friend to many other It Girls on the scene (Alexa Chung, Natalia Vodianova, as well as several other lookers you’d recognize when flipping through the pages of any major fashion editorial). I love that through his glamorous and jet-setting lifestyle, he seems to always make time for his family (especially his cutie nephew, William).

Cara Delevingne of @caradelevingne is currently my favorite model in the fashion spotlight. This beautifully quirky Brit takes us behind the scenes of several high profile shows as well as into her home and life with her friends. I love her free spirit and the fact that she’s not afraid to make an ugly face. In fact, it seems as if she embraces her quirkier side, which has drawn me (along with 2.2 million others) to her page.

Pat McGrath of @patmcgrathreal is my queen. This makeup master’s name is synonymous with any and all shows that matter for the season. McGrath takes us behind the scenes as well as into some amazingly unreal shoot and show locations. This woman is definitely one to follow if you’re interested in picking up tips for what the upcoming makeup trends may be.

Visionaire (@visionaireworld) is a multi-format fashion and art publication based in New York City. This account is filled with guest Instagrammers (on “Takeover Tuesday”) with the likes of Selma Blair and Kate Upton. They feature all different mediums of art as well as many amazing fashion photos from the archives. 


Call Me

An original iPhone case designed by our blogger, Sarah York, who took one of her textile designs and turned it into this (above).

The iphone (or smartphone of choice) case. A somewhat new accessory, but quickly becoming, or perhaps is already, a fashion statement that needs to be considered. I recently read that the phone case is becoming the statement accessory piece, much like a statement or signature bag used to be. The nice thing about a phone case is that it is much cheaper and there are infinitely more options that range from plain and sleek to patterned, textured and bejeweled. It is also an accessory that doesn’t have to match anything really, so you can have fun and let your fancy run wild. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites, but there were many more that I could have chosen. Also, there are options that let you create your own, like Casetagram (, where I recently turned one of my pattern designs (above) into an iphone case. Let your imagination run wild, or find a pre-made case that makes you smile every time you reach for your phone, which in this day and age, is a lot. 


Iphone cases



Inside BellJar

Photos: The exterior and interior of BellJar, a stunning boutique in San Francisco; the owner, Sasha Darling.

I live in the South Bay Area and a few weeks ago I was up in San Francisco browsing around various boutiques and came across one that I'd not only driven by, but had been hearing about for a while—BellJar, on 16th Street in the Mission. Lucky for me, I had a gift card from there after a recent birthday and I was eager to use it. Upon entering I was immediately struck by the charm and beauty of the store, as well as the eclectic offerings of "gorgeous little things," (that's appropriately part of the name). The staff was welcoming and helpfully pointed out several items that were made by local artisans. I always find it impressive when a shop is willing to engage and promote local talent. I could have stayed there for hours, trying on things and yearning for what gorgeous little things I could take home. I eventually settled on a graphic turquoise scarf that I found to be sweet and romantic, but also bold and modern. I love it and the boutique. I was so taken with BellJar that I tracked down its owner, Sasha Darling, who lives in Los Angeles, and had a chat with her about the store. 

She opened it in 2008 and to this day still does all the buying, social media, and public relations, as well as visits the store in person every two months. Over the last five years the store has evolved to include low and high price points as well as merchandise that appeals to customers that are both girlie and edgy, featuring designers likeLykke Wullf. Darling describes her typical customer as, "In her thirties, hip, artistic, and maybe works at a design firm." 

Since its inception, the store has been soaring and has been featured in numerous national magazines including Elle Décor, Sunset, Lucky,, and many others. We caught up with Sasha Darling to learn more about her.

How would you describe your personal style? 
Simple, California. I’m a total vintage junkie. I love bohemian style and try to push it on San Francisco. 

What’s your favorite brand of denim? 
I'm really into Thvm jeans.

What fashion designer (or beauty brand) are you eyeing right now? 
Carolina K who makes Guatemalan, long hippie dresses and maxis. And Lykke Wullf.

What’s your favorite skin care item? 
Naked Eye Beauty.

Mani or pedi?
I don't think I’ve ever gotten one without the other. Both are so important to me.

Lip gloss or lip balm? 
Lip balm.

Heels or flats? 
I'm a heels girl, but since I’ve moved to L.A., I'm learning to embrace flat sandals.

BellJar is located at 3187 16th St., San Francisco, (415) 626-1749.