The Rich Life On a Budget

Sweet and Spark

I have always adored vintage jewelry. As a child spending summers in Ohio with my grandmother, I often rifled through her jewelry box and played dress-up with all her colorful, shiny baubles.

In high school, my best friend and I would comb vintage shops in Las Vegas after school let out for chunky rhinestone jewelry, the bigger and louder the better.

What draws me to vintage jewelry as an adult is the attention to detail not easily found in today’s costume jewelry selections. I appreciate the sturdy clasps, tarnish-proof finishes and secured stones as well as the well-made, high-quality materials and construction. Have you ever noticed how vintage pieces are often weightier than their modern counterparts?  It’s no wonder l’ve loved vintage jewelry all my life!

When I heard about Sweet and Spark, an online vintage boutique, I was eager to find out more.

Sweet and Spark is located in the Bay Area with headquarters in San Francisco. Jillian Bremer began Sweet and Spark as a lifestyle blog in 2011. Her position as an apparel buyer for a big clothing company had ended due to the company closing and she decided to take some time off. She found herself returning to a hobby she once shared with her father when she was a child. The two would often spend Saturdays shopping yard sales and flea markets, in search of quality vintage jewelry.

Jillian noticed that her friends loved her vintage pieces and she often found herself giving her treasures to them as gifts. She wondered why, with so much interest, there wasn’t a brand devoted to vintage jewelry. So in 2012, Sweet and Spark was relaunched as a carefully curated online boutique and has been gaining success ever since.


Jillian’s father is Head Buyer for Sweet and Spark. The father and daughter team travel around the country regularly, scouting for the best vintage pieces from the 1940s through 1990s.  Jillian and her dad call it “Spark hunting'” and even have a hashtag for it (#sparkhuntin’). You can read more about Jillian and her father on the Sweet and Spark “About Us” page.

Jillian offered to let me select a piece from her vast collection. It was not an easy decision as dozens of items caught my eye. Ultimately, I chose this 1980s Monet necklace with a gold finish and tassel detail.


Since it’s such a classic and timeless piece, I like to style it with similar classic and timeless wardrobe pieces.


I recently purchased this Banana Republic jumpsuit and have loved wearing it. It makes me feel so stylish and it’s very comfortable!


I wore it to San Francisco last week when attending the Empowering Conversations panel discussion with my friend, Sandee. I added a thrifted Dior cropped jacket (also vintage) and carried a Louis Vuitton clutch.


Next time I wear this Sweet and Spark necklace, I will style it with something casual and summery like a maxi dress or a white blouse and jeans combination.


I love owning a piece of jewelry that is unique, timeless and so well-made that it remains in pristine condition even after 30+ years.  I will shop Sweet and Spark time and time again not only for myself but for special gifts for stylish friends.

Sweet and Spark’s core collection focuses on gold toned jewelry but they also carry lots of rhinestone pieces, a variety of southwest-style items, and even accessories like vintage handbags, shoe clips and hair jewelry. From boho-chic to minimalist, there is something for every taste and style.



Wedding season is upon us. Be sure to take a look at the beautiful Vintage Wedding Inspiration page. There are so many lovely baubles for brides, bridesmaid parties and mothers-of-the-bride. You can also rent pieces for an occasion. Isn’t that clever?

Jillian is generously offering readers of The Rich Life 20% off all orders from now until the end of June! Just use code RICHLIFE20 checkout.

Make it a rich day!




Disclosure: The vintage Monet necklace was given to me in exchange for promotion. All opinions are, as always, my own. 

Around Here Lately…

Since the Spring Luxe Event earlier this month, life has been surprisingly busy. Last week I barely saw my husband, Bill. Between his evening meetings and my unusually full calendar keeping me away from home, we felt like strangers by the time Friday rolled around.

Thankfully, things are settling down now and I am back to doing what I love to do most: blog!

I’d like to take today to catch up with you and share what’s been going on around here lately…

As you may recall, Tamera Beardsley and her husband came up from Orange County so Tamera could be one of the models in the Spring Luxe Event. I was so excited when she agreed to come up and even more so when she told me she and Jeff would stay a couple of extra days here in wine country and spend time together.

I told my friend and neighbor, Abi of Abi’s Farmhouse Kitchen, that Tamera was going to be in our area and she invited us over for wine and cheese!

Abi and her husband own Annadel Estate Winery. On 50 acres, their home was built in the 1880s and is truly magnificent, a local landmark. I love their spacious porch that overlooks their many roses as well as the nearby state park.


Abi made these gorgeous rose bouquets for me and Tamera to take home with us. They have a rose farm that produces thousands and thousands of heirloom roses that are harvested and delivered to the San Francisco Flower Mart each week.

My roses sat on my nightstand for another full week, scenting our bedroom with their sweet fragrance.


It was a magical afternoon in a magical place with two dynamic, fun, creative and artistic women who I am honored to call friends. And I love that they are both tall like me. At 6’2”, it is a rare delight to look another woman in the eye.


After Abi gave us a tour around the property, we enjoyed some of their Zinfandel Rose – called Big Pink – over at their bocce court.


This lovely wine is outstanding and ideal for summertime fun (or anytime, in my opinion!).


I just had to add this photo I took of glamorous Tamera. It’s one of my very favorites from our time together.


Be sure to read both Tamera’s and Abi’s recaps of our visit to Abi’s on their blogs.

After our magnificent afternoon concluded, Tamera and Jeff invited me to come with them to their hotel, The Carneros Inn, which Tamera recently blogged about. We stopped at my house on the way so I could grab a swim suit and off we went!


Tamera and I decided to take a soak in the hot tub next to the pool. While I really do love pretty much everything about The Carneros Inn, they could use a bigger hot tub. To say it was cozy with three – and at one point, four – other couples is an understatement. We still had a great time though and we met some fun people!


After the sun went down, we changed clothes and headed to dinner at FARM Restaurant. It is a gorgeous venue with fresh and flavorful food and a fun cocktail list. We enjoyed long conversations over delectable dishes. It was such a wonderful day from start to finish! Thank you for everything, Tamera and Jeff. You spoiled me!


Mother’s Day was a couple of Sundays ago. My two stepdaughters, Tori and Kayla, and their dad surprised me with a lovely picnic at one of my favorite wineries, Preston Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley.

My stepson, Ryan, was out of town that day so he couldn’t join us. Instead he left a sweet card and a dainty bouquet of roses on the front porch during the night. What a wonderful surprise to wake to on Monday morning!


Across from our picnic, this cuteness was going on: a darling little chicken coop with three lambs in their own protected section of the ranch. It was so entertaining to watch all them, especially the sweet lambs.



Bottle-feeding time was the best! Their little tails did not stop wagging until they finished.


Tori gave me a thoughtful gift. She had this wine glass engraved just for me. Her friend’s father has a shop on Etsy called Engrave Me This. Isn’t that fantastic!


My handsome husband made Mother’s Day extra special too. He put together our picnic and made sure to bring plenty of cheese and potato chips for me. He also made a point of wearing my favorite shirt.


I decided to wear my new Gap 1969 Perfect Boot Jeans. I wore them with a cream-colored top by Stella Carakasi (similar) and a Go-Getter vest layered over the top.


I went for a boho vibe and wore these new earrings I bought at a gift shop in Ferndale. There are several Native American tribes on the North Coast. These earrings are dream catchers made with leather, shells, feathers and reeds. I love them! And they make a statement without being heavy.


To top off my Mother’s Day outfit, I wore my Planter Horse Ride hat from Montecristi Panama Hats of Napa Valley.


It was a wonderful and relaxing Mother’s Day. I always enjoy spending time with my adult stepkids. They are not only family, but they are friends. Thank you, Bill, Kayla, Ryan and Tori for making me feel so special!

This week, I am getting ready to attend the Wine Country PopUp Dinner in Sonoma Valley this weekend, put on by Hand Made Events. We have a table of eight that includes my friend, Daidri of Thee Getaway Gal, and her husband and Jeannine (who you may recall from this post) of Wine Glass Writer and her husband. It will be a blast!

I have already picked out my outfit for the event. Everyone is asked to wear all white to these events. I love wearing white and happily complied!

I’m going to wear lightweight spring pieces from the Stella Carakasi Spring ’15 Collection. I chose the Beyond Basic Ankle Pants, the Take Note Vest and the Effortless Tee underneath. I’ll forgo the white shoes and wear silver slip-on sandals instead.


This week, my friends and I are busy coordinating who will bring what to make our event tasty, comfortable and fun!

If you’re interested in attending, use my code (RICHLIFE) to take $5.00 off the ticket price. And be sure to let me know if you’re going. It would be fun to meet up!

Hand Made Events does PopUp Dinners across the nation. There’s a good chance there’ll be a PopUp near you this season!

Last Wednesday night, my business partner and friend, Sandee, and I attended Empowering Conversations at Bently Reserve in San Francisco’s Financial District, where I worked many, many years ago.


After grabbing dinner, Sandee and I checked in. We were among the first guests there and had our pick of seats. Soon every seat was filled, the room was buzzing with excitement when the event got underway.

Empowering Conversations

It was a panel discussion featuring Janet Hayes, President of Williams-Sonoma, Ali Larter, Actress and Author, and Christine Bronstein, Founder of A Band of Women.


It was fascinating to listen to these women – all from different backgrounds and professions – talk about the challenges of balancing family and career and how they found success both professionally and personally.

I guess most of us are looking for that balance, which they all agreed was impossible to achieve. But that’s a discussion for another day!

Before I wrap up this lengthy post, I want thank Daisy Tribe for their recap of the Spring Luxe Event. Kendra, Janaia and Kati, who not only attended the event, but participated as models and photographer, are such lovely women. I do hope you’ll visit and follow their blog.


Tomorrow is the last day to order the Adora by Adrienne bagIf you’re interested in ordering this yellow, limited edition bag, send me an email to

It’s such a thrill to know that later this week Piero in Vinci, Italy will start making these beauties!



I am linking up with Visible Monday today!



Don’t forget that How I Wear My: Spring Jacket is coming up in early June! Check out the How I Wear My page for details.

What’s been happening with you lately?

Make it a rich day!



Disclosure: Stella Carakasi clothing was given to me as were the tickets to Wine Country PopUp Dinner. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always.