The Power Of Human Interaction

This morning after Gia’s preschool drop off I thought it would be nice to grab a second cup of coffee from my favorite local place, Farm & Flour.  It was slow enough inside that Vivi could roam around without getting in the way of the employees or disturbing guests who were working on their laptops.

While waiting for my cappuccino, I followed Vivi’s lead and ended up at a table occupied by two friendly women who peppered me with questions about Viv, her hair, if I had more children, and if they had that much hair too.  (It’s funny how Gia and Viv’s hair is one of the first things people notice about them.)  After telling them that both of my girls were born with very full heads of hair I grabbed my coffee and gave Viv her snacks to munch while she walked around.

Low and behold, we ended up back were we started, talking to the same two women again.  One of them got up to leave and I had a nice chat with the woman who remained.  I have seen her there many times before, usually seated in the exact spot she was currently occupying,  She had a leather notebook open in front of her, filled with the most beautiful handwriting.

After seeing her notebook I immediately became conscious of the fact that we might be disrupting some kind of work she was doing.  I asked her if we were bothering her and she told me that we weren’t at all.  She said, “children are my work,” while smiling at Viv.  I asked if she was a teacher and she told me she taught preschool at our local Montessori school.

For some reason I felt comfortable talking to her about things that I don’t share with people I’ve just met.  We chatted for a while about motherhood, school, staying at home with kids versus working, writing about my experiences on my blog, and the ups and downs of raising children.  She mentioned she didn’t have any kids of her own, but she was sure to tell me that I’m doing a great job.

There was something about our brief interaction that really made me feel good.  I doubt people think this much about their day to day interactions with others because we are all in such a hurry.  To be honest, we are so consumed in ourselves that we don’t often notice others or have the chance to talk the way I did with this woman today.

When I was just about finished with my cappuccino, Vivi noticed a dog that came in with two men.  I’m assuming it was a service dog, because he eventually sat down next to the two men inside the coffee shop.  Of course, Vivi had to toddle over towards the dog and investigate.

Initially, when I saw the two men come in I wanted to grab Viv, pick her up and keep her from going near them.  I hate that I felt this way and I’ll tell you why:

One of the men was an amputee in a wheelchair, possibly a war veteran based on the hat he was wearing.  The other man was a bit disheveled looking and his clothes were dirty.  I didn’t feel proud that this was what made me want to keep Viv away from them, but it was the fact of the matter.  Then, after thinking all of this in my head, I noticed a woman get up and leave, seemingly because of the men who came in.  This upset me a little bit and made we want to change my attitude of judgement towards them.

I set Viv down and let her roam again – yes, she went straight for the men and the dog. This time I followed closely and said hello to them as they smiled at my daughter.  I don’t know if they thought much about it or not, but I feel like they were surprised we came over to say hi and ask about their dog.  This was just a small interaction, but for me it was impactful because of how it shifted my thinking and how I wanted these guys to feel included, not ostracized.  For all I know they could have been victims of the raging fires in our area who just needed to escape the smoke.  Either way, I’ll remember how our interaction made me feel — good.

Finally, I decided it was time to start heading home to get Vivi down for her nap before heading back out again to pick Gia up from school.  On my way out there was a fire fighter from Cal Fire seated with a woman having toast and coffee.  I made a point to stop and I said, “Thank you for everything you’re doing,” while surprisingly trying not to cry.

The man and woman smiled at me and the man gave me a look of appreciation.  He pulled out a sticker and asked if he could give it to Vivi.  I took the sticker and jokingly said that my husband would kill me for bringing home more fire fighter paraphernalia.  He laughed and jokingly responded that police and fire are always at odds.

I shared that we have family and friends who are fire fighters and made it clear that we love and appreciate their work, just as much as we appreciate those in police work.  We talked for another couple of minutes about what city my husband is a police officer in and where my brother-in-law is a fire fighter.  After that we said goodbye and be safe.

 

I find it interesting that I had three separate interactions in one place, each really striking a chord with me.  As we crossed the street to my car I cried for a moment and just felt emotional.  Part of me also felt really silly for crying, but it reminded me that we can still have these genuine human experiences when we least expect them.

I’m sure each of these people that I interacted with in the short span of 45 minutes will never know that they impacted my day in such a positive way, but it’s nice to know that these experiences aren’t lost on us.  We really do have the power to shift someone’s day.  Let’s try and make it a positive shift.

xo Ashley

Chocolate Coffee Almond Scones, A Perfect Morning Treat

Father’s Day this year was a busy one, yet still very low-key.  I knew the moment that I saw these scones posted on Kate Wood’s “Wood and Spoon” blog that I’d be making them as a Father’s Day treat.

Anyone who knows me should know that I love coffee.  My husband, Craig, was not a huge coffee drinker when we first got together seven years ago.  Let’s just say, things have changed and he needs his coffee almost as much as I do!  These scones are the perfect blend of everything that I love, so I had to share Kate’s yummy recipe.


Chocolate Coffee Almond Scones – recipe by Kate Wood:

IMG_E2889.JPG

Before sharing the recipe goods, I’ll tell you a little bit more about how Father’s Day was spent this year…..

I woke up earlier than usual just to make sure that I could prepare the scone dough, give it time to chill and then bake before Craig became ravenous.  My husband wakes up hungry and is usually wondering what’s for lunch before he can even finish his breakfast.  Must be a man thing??

Our plan for the day was to have Craig’s dad and family over in the morning to share the scones with.  They arrived around 8am and once they all had their fill of my fresh scones, we went to a little coffee shop across the water in the neighboring town of Martinez.  I don’t really remember how I came across States, but it very well could have been my fellow coffee lover, aka, my mom.

We enjoyed our coffee at States, where I love to go because it’s very kid friendly.  There are wooden blocks and old toy trucks that are left on the lower shelves for the children to play with.  Gia always has a good time when we are there and even gets her own little coffee.  (I just fill her little to-go coffee cup with water and she thinks it’s the coolest.)

After taking our last sips from our drinks, we meandered through the Farmers’ Market that’s held on Sunday mornings in Martinez.  Once we all got to take a look at the offereings, we packed it up and parted ways.  Craig’s family went back home, while Craig, Gia and I had some family time.  We went five minutes down the road to a nice little park across from a fire station.  Gia played for about 45 minutes before we decided to head home, feed her lunch and put her down for a nap.

Later, after Gia woke up and played a little, we went over to my parents to see my dad for Father’s Day.  My grandma joined us too – there’s no way she’d go without seeing my dad on Father’s Day.  My mom made us a nice dinner and I’m pretty sure that the dads, as well as their stomaches, were happy.

Overall, we had a really nice day.  Sometimes it’s just doing simple, easy things with family that are the most enjoyable.


Daddy and Gia swinging together at Nancy Boyd Memorial Park in Martinez:

IMG_2895


Hopefully you’ll enjoy these scones as much as we did!  Now, for what you’ve really been waiting for, the recipe……

Chocolate Coffee Almond Scones

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup whipping cream, plus additional for brushing
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped unsalted almonds
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. In a small container, stir the whipping cream and teh espresso powder to combine and set aside in the fridge to keep cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar.  Use a pastry cutter or the back of two forks to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it becomes a coarse meal consistency with pea-sized clumps thoughout.  Stir in the almonds and chocolate chips.  Add the espresso and cream mixture and sitr into the dry ingredients, just until evenly incorporated.  If a lot of dry ingredients remain in the bottom of the bowl you can add an additional tablespoon or two of cream, just barely enough to make it all come together into a dough. (I found that I definitely needed to add the extra bit of cream.)
  3. Pat the dough to 3/4 inch thick and use a biscuit cutter to cut 2 inch circles of dough for each scone.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Put the pan in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Once the dough is chilled, use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of whipping cream over the top of the sonces.  Bake in the oven until golden brown around the edges of each scone, about 25 minutes.

Notes:

  • Chilling the dough ensures the scones will rise well.  You can skip this step but it isn’t recommended for best outcomes.

Recipe from Kate Wood of “Wood and Spoon”

xo

Pumpkins + Munchkins

I’ve been a blogging slacker for the last three weeks or so, but I think you’ll understand why.  First of all, with the horrendous amount damage and displacement caused by the fires in our area the last couple of weeks, it just didn’t feel right to blog or post much on social media.  I felt guilty going about my everyday life knowing that just up the road people had lost absolutely everything.


Photo from my mom & dad’s front yard on day 1 of the fires:

IMG_0534

Craig and I donated to our local church, Northgate Christian Fellowship, but wished we could do so much more.  Craig did work some mutual aid in one of the hardest hit areas of Santa Rosa – the Coffey Park neighborhood.  He showed me pictures of the neighborhoods and it was shocking to see how unrecognizable things looked.

On the brighter side of things, we closed on our house earlier than expected and started moving in.  It’s seemed like a never-ending transition from the last house to the new one, and we aren’t sleeping there just yet, but I’m thinking we will be next week.  We are so excited to be in our new house, in such a wonderful neighborhood.  Our street is full of little ones and friendly families.  We’ve already met four of our neighbors and I can’t say enough about how welcoming and nice they are.

What I’m looking forward to most about the new neighborhood is Gia being able to make friends as she grows.  I just have such a good feeling about all of it and I can’t help but feel so fortunate.

To cap off the busy week that we’ve had as a family, Gia and I went downtown to stroll First Street for the Halloween Costume Walk.  I wondered how much we’d actually get to walk with a 14 month old, but it was so much fun and Gia did great.  She loved waving and saying hello to all of the other kids who were dressed up.

The only candy she had interest in hanging on to was her mini crunch bar.  By the end of our stroll it was half melted in the wrapper.  Of course I wasn’t planning on giving it to her – not enough teeth and that kid doesn’t need a sugar jolt.


Our little pumpkin with her candy of choice:

IMG_0719

There were some really great costumes and cute families who dressed up together.  Gia wore the pumpkin costume that I wore when I trick-or-treated for the very first time.  I wasn’t able to get her to wear the little pumpkin stem hat that went with it, but hey, I tried.   I’m thinking that the next Bennigson baby will have to wear the costume too.  Looks like I’ve already got a tradition in the making!

I hope you all have a great weekend doing whatever it is that you have planned!  Happy Halloween to all!

The Longest Week Ever

It’s been almost a week since my last blog post and I’m beating myself up about it.  My goal is to try and post every other day, if I’m feeling inspired.  I’d hate to write just to fill the page to hit my personal quota.  I would much rather go without content for longer than I’d like, in order to feel like I have something I’m really wanting to talk about and share.  In today’s case, I have to update you all and let you know why I’ve been so absent!

As I’ve mentioned a few times throughout the last couple of weeks, we’re moving.  Now I can say “we’ve moved!”  Yay!  We are officially out of our old house and moved in with our new roomies – my mom and dad.  😉  This last week was kind of chaotic and most definitely would not have happened without the help from our families.


Here’s Gia with some great bed head, relaxing on bedding that needed to be packed up:IMG_0019


If it wasn’t for my father-in-law, and some of our friends, the grunt work of this move might have never happened.  Let’s just say they helped us move all of our crap into two, count ’em, two, storage units.  As of a couple days ago Craig and I were very seriously contemplating getting a third storage unit.  How asinine is that?!  Where did all this stuff come from??  We didn’t end up getting the third storage unit because the facility we are using is totally full.  I guess that’s a sign to start purging more of our things.

I’m so glad that we can get back to some normalcy in our lives now that we are in my mom and dad’s place for the next month and a half.  Gia had a fun time this week playing with both of her grandma’s while the Craig and I got things squared away with packing up.  G-girl had quite a few adventurous trips to the local park, as well as her first trip to the Nut Tree – – To this day I remember going there when I was little with my grandparents.  My grandpa even made me a replica of the giant rocking horses that they used to have there.  Don’t worry, I still have it stored away for Gia to use when she gets bigger.


Photo of Miss Gia having a blast at the Nut Tree:

IMG_6457

We ended our week on a really high note, celebrating our sweet friends, Sean and Jenn.  Craig and I had the pleasure of attending their wedding yesterday in Jenn’s parents backyard.  We had so much fun and thought it couldn’t have been a more perfect day.  Their adorable little girl Isla stole the show as she came down the aisle in her Radio Flyer just before her mommy (who couldn’t have been more beautiful) made her grand entrance.


Photo of the lovely couple after saying I do:

IMG_0147


Jenn and Sean looked fantastic and had a beautiful cake made by Wildflour Bakehouse, who I mentioned last week.  It was almost as stunning as the newlyweds!  Thank goodness Sean was a gentleman and didn’t shove the cake in his bride’s face after cutting into it.


Photo of the cake with signature macarons:

fullsizeoutput_20e0

As a sidenote, a few people have asked me this past week what the difference is between a macaron and a macaroon.  There is a BIG difference and I’m sure any pastry chef out there would cringe if someone called either of these treats by the wrong name.

macaron is a meringue-based cookie made with almond flour, egg whites, granulated sugar and powdered sugar, then filled with buttercream, ganache or fruit curd.  It’s a delicate treat with a crunchy, yet chewy exterior.  To add the the confusion, it’s also called a French Macaron.

macaroon is a totally different type of confection.  Mostly, this term is equated with a coconut macaroon, which is dense and moist.  It’s composed of egg whites, sugar and dried coconut, and sometimes dipped in chocolate.

I dunno about you guys but I like both!  I’ve never met a sweet treat I didn’t enjoy.

Speaking of sweet….I’ve got another pretty sweet collaboration going with a company based out of the UK, called Curly Ellie.  I found out about them through another mommy blogger who is based in the UK as well.  She has three daughters, all of which have beautiful curly hair.  I knew I wanted to try these products on Gia because taming her hair after bath time can be such a process.  Not to mention, I don’t want to hurt her little head getting those tangles out!

To make a long story shorter, I tagged Curly Ellie in a photo on Instagram with Gia in it, showcasing those curls in all their glory.  Curly Ellie said they would love to collaborate with me, as they mentioned how lovely Gia was.  I couldn’t agree more – obviously I’m biased!

I’m so excited to receive all of their products and try them out on Gia.  I’ll be sure to give you all a full report on what we think of them.  I might even try them myself.  After all, Gia did get her hair from me.  So for any of you mom’s out there with curly haired babes, stay tuned.  Or if you have beautiful curls yourself, you might want to think about looking into these products.  I hope they work wonders on Gia because I love discovering a brand or product and telling everyone about it.

I should also be receiving the leggings I got from the other company I’m collaborating with – Pineapple Clothing.  The shipping process has been delayed due to the horrible damage caused my Hurricane Irma.

My thoughts and prayers continue to be with the people of Houston, Miami and Puerto Rico during these times.  May we all remember how lucky we are while others are facing such hardship.

To help efforts towards hurricane relief please visit the Red Cross.  There are many ways to help, donating through Red Cross is just one of those ways.

 

 

 

Happiness Is Your Hometown

So, we’ve done it.  We’ve done the thing we always swore we would never do.  Yes, we consciously decided to live in the town that we grew up in to raise Gia.  In high school I remember silently vowing to myself that I would never move back to sleepy little Benicia.  Look at us now – we’ve sold our first home here and are in contract with our next.  Go figure.


Picture of downtown Benicia:

IMG_0020

When I was a teenager, specifically during my high school years I didn’t dislike my hometown, but I also didn’t have a lot of love for it either.  I was often bored because most of my friends lived over the bridge.  (I went to an all girls, Catholic high school.)  Actually, I should retract that – I wasn’t bored.  My time was always filled with softball practice after school, homework and late night hitting + catching lessons that sometimes took me as far as San Jose.

In my early 20s, after graduating college, I moved back in with my parents for a little while, which meant the return to my Main Street town.  After finding my way, getting my first real job and saving money, I booked it out of Benicia and lived in Walnut Creek – a place where I still like to spend time.  I lived there for a year and during that time, I found myself constantly gravitating back towards Benicia.  I don’t know if it was the fact that my parents were there, or that I was beginning to appreciate the friendly, small town I called home for almost all of my life.  (Maybe it was a combo of the two?)

Fast forward to the present….Craig (he’s also a Benicia native) and I feel like we couldn’t have made a better decision about settling down here.  We are within walking distance of both of our parents, are close to cities where we like to spend our free time adventuring, and we feel like we are truly part of the community here.


Photo of Gia trying to join the seagull community here in town:

IMG_6196

I think it’s such a nice feeling that I know all of the faces at my gym and I can say hi to them when I see them at the Farmers’ Market, or in the grocery store.  I love the fact that when I walk downtown with Gia, the security guard at the bank always goes out of his way to say hi, or ask about our day.  Some may not like that type of thing and think that in a town like this everyone is in your business.  I’m sure there is some truth to that, but I only see the positives.

These are some of the reasons why I’m so happy to be living in our hometown, raising our daughter:

  • Support events and local vendors – Benicia is always good for a Fair or Festival.  Yesterday I made a quick trip downtown to the Fine Arts & Crafts Fair that I mentioned on my Instagram.  Gia and I strolled up and down First Street, then picked up some YUMMY macarons from Wildflour Bakehouse.  (Go check them out and thank me later!)  I’m sure there will be another fun event here in town soon, but I don’t know when.  You can always visit the city website to see the list of happenings around town.

Picture of the Fine Arts & Crafts Fair:

IMG_0021

  • Reconnect with people who also grew up here – I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with or even reconnecting with since living here as an adult.  A lot of it has to do with my lifestyle and having a child.  I’ve gotten to meet other parents who want to get together and made great friends through my husband.  It’s nice to see that people other than my husband and I have the same idea of “coming back home.”
  • Gia will go through an “I hate this town” phase too – It’s pretty likely that Gia will go through the same phase that I went through, but if that helps her find her way through life then that’s fine.  If she one day chooses to move back here, then I will be happy knowing she went through a similar thought process to mine.  If she lives elsewhere, whether it be 15 minutes away or a 15 hour drive, it will also make me happy knowing that she’s content being there.

If you’re a resident of Benicia, comment and let me know what you love about our town! I’d love to hear about other cities as well.  Let me know what you love most about where you live.  As much as I like living where I do, I know there will be days where I will feel like my high school aged self and “hate it.”  Just remember to stop and smell the flowers on days like that!


Picture of Gia smelling the flowers at yesterday’s event:

IMG_0022.JPG

When Life Gives You Lemons, Trade Them For Coffee

Remember when I told you about my hot friend???  Oh, yes you do….his name is coffee!  Now you’re telling me he was your hot friend first?!  Okay, okay, he can be a friend to all.


Pictured below is a gorgeous cappuccino from Urth Caffe in Laguna Beach, CA:

fullsizeoutput_1071


I am absolutely a coffee person (sorry tea drinkers) and I live for finding great places to enjoy that dark, delicious, liquid gold.  I’ll even admit that many, if not all of my errands and outings, revolve around the ability to also grab a cup of the good stuff.  I’m sure many other people are similar to me in that sense.

Let me get one thing straight before I go ahead and tell you about some of my all-time Bay Area favorites….I by no means am claiming that I was the first to discover any of these coffee shops.  Some people get really possessive about their local hangs and haunts, claiming that they’ve known about them for years – sometimes people even get mad when they find out you are frequenting a place that they like to go.  Good news – there is room for us all!  My only intention here is to share the wealth.  I’m positive that many of you already know about the places I want to talk about, but what’s nice about that is knowing I’m not the only loyalist out there.

Let’s get this thing started before my first cup of the day starts to wear off!

There is a very special place in my heart for a spot called, Caffe Greco.  I’ve been going to this San Francisco staple for a long, long time.  It appeals to me because it’s located in the heart of North Beach and being the good Italian girl that I am, I like to be true to my roots.

They have a beyond friendly staff who I’ve gotten to know over the years.  They’ve seen me grow up in a sense – from high school age, to visiting when I was home from college, to having engagement photos taken there, and now Gia is keeping up the tradition by visiting too.


Here’s Craig and I trying to get comfortable during our engagement shoot at Caffe Greco:

IMG_2848


A trip to Caffe Greco wouldn’t be complete without grabbing a pastry from Mara’s Italian Pastries, just a block away.  I highly suggest getting their “raspberry wreath,” or at least that’s what I’ve always called it.  When you walk up to the window at Mara’s you’re greeted with the most beautiful pastries, made fresh each day.  Although I’ve still never been to the motherland (Italy), I imagine it would have pastry shops like this all over.


Picture of pure decadence:

IMG_2867


 

The next up is Artis, located on 4th Street in Berkeley, CA.  Artis is unlike many coffee shops out there in the sense that they’re all about the story of your coffee, from seed to sip.  My mom loves Artis and makes pit stops here often, especially if she’s made a trip to the Monterey Market for some beautiful produce.

I like the location of Artis as much as I like their coffee because you can stroll the shops and make an afternoon of your visit.  The knowledgable staff at Artis make for a great customer experience, which is harder to find these days that you would imagine.  If you’re willing to do some experimenting with your coffee tastes, this is the place to do so.

Also, for all those who commute into the city for work, there is now a Hayes Valley location!  Yay!


This next spot I’m going to mention is beloved in the Bay Area and it is taking over – Philz Coffee.  My first encounter with Philz came back when I was working for Virgin America.  Before last year’s big merger with Alaska Airlines, Virgin was always about supporting local.  We started serving Philz Coffee on all of our flights and I vividly remember when that shift happened.  All of the in-flight team members were schooled on the coffee at headquarters, in Burlingame.  It was a really cool and unique experience because essentially Philz was brought to us to be demoed and tasted.


My days with Virgin:

IMG_1662


The majority of Philz locations are in the city and on the peninsula, but now more and more are sprouting up all over.  Berkeley has a few locations and better yet, there is one in Walnut Creek now.  My sister-in-law, Michelle even mentioned to me that they have some opening in the greater San Diego area.


I know that I said I was going to mention a few of my Bay Area go-to coffee shops, but I cannot finish this post without mentioning two places that are a little bit out of the area.

The Flying Goat and Bibo Coffee Co. are both fantastic.  The Flying Goat is located in the heart of Healdsburg, CA, while Bibo is in Reno, NV.

I stumbled upon The Flying Goat with my parents when they became members at a great winery in Healdsburg, called Lambert Bridge.  You should always drink copious amounts of coffee before wine tasting! 😉

Bibo is a place I discovered in college at the University of Nevada.  I spent a lot of time studying there and finding myself during those years.  Now, they have quite a few more locations sprinkled throughout the biggest little city.  I think Craig and I will be needing to make a trip up that way soon, not only for the coffee, but to get some Wolfpack apparel for Gia.

Make it a good day, and remember, coffee is good at any hour!

Local Girls Do It Better

A few posts back, I mentioned that my husband and I are in the selling process with our home and are getting ready to move.  I don’t think that the couple moving in realizes that they’ve hit the neighbor jackpot by purchasing our house!

Our next door neighbors are wonderful people – they grab my packages if I’m out of town, they let me borrow an egg or two when my mom brain neglects to add them to the grocery list, and they keep an eye out for people who don’t belong in the neighborhood.  Pretty much everything you could hope for in a good neighbor.

I’d like to think I, myself, am a good neighbor as well.  Keeping with the theme of being neighborly and kind to one another, I wanted to share some juicy gossip with you about “the girl next door”, her name’s Nicole, for all those wondering.

She is a local boss lady who owns and runs one of the greatest little boutiques to happen to our town – Pink Arrows Boutique.


Cute and oh so soft pullover sold at Pink Arrows:

fullsizeoutput_20d6


If you have spent any time in Benicia, (in my case, the majority of my childhood and now adult life) then you know we have a plethora of hair salons, antique shops and mediocre food.  Now Benicia can not only be known to the world as the state’s third capitol, but the home of Nicole’s Pink Arrows!


Nicole’s boutique is in a quaint location and is as friendly as she is:

fullsizeoutput_20d5


 

Here’s some Q + A and inside scoop on the owner, Nicole, and her dream, turned reality:

What inspired you to start Pink Arrows Boutique?

My love for fashion was nurtured as a child….and while still in pigtails, my mom taught me how to sew.  Over the next 20 years I graduated from FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) and built an extensive career that included design, merchandising, buying and quality control.  But, my dream was to always open a boutique.

About three years ago, when I was between jobs, I decided it was time, and the idea for my boutique began.

How’d your boutique get it’s name?

The name Pink Arrows balances bold symbols of beauty and strength.  Throughout my life I have admired many women, including my mentors – my mom and grandmother – in their aspirations to successfully combine the two.  My goal is to fill my boutique with modern, yet cozy and bohemian, glamorous clothes and accessories that women will covet.

What do you think makes Pink Arrows special?

My goal is to always look for pieces that have the softest fabrics, the best fit and the most unique graphics.  I have spent a good part of my career in sourcing and quality control, visiting factories overseas, and I have a unique eye for detail.  Sourcing is my passion.  

I love when customers are surprised at the range of sizes and prices that I carry.  I’m not just trying to cater to one age group or one body type.  It’s a good feeling when someone walks in skeptical and leaves having found something they love….and with a smile.

What’s the toughest part about running your own business?

The same challenge every woman feels – there is never enough time in the day for everything!  Trying to balance work, family, friends, etc., there is always a trade off (sometimes it’s sleep).  I truly believe if you are doing what you love, it doesn’t feel like work.  I have had some jobs during my career that were tough to wake up for everyday, where the work environment wasn’t positive, or the commute was CRAZY LONG.  I am super grateful to live in Benicia and work in Benicia.  I get to surround myself with so many amazing people on a daily basis.  

Do you have any future plans for the business?

My goal for the last few years has been to find a location in Benicia for my shop.  Now that I’ve found it, I’m settling in to my new surroundings and constantly trying to improve the space.  I am loving that I accomplished that goal and now I realize I need to set new goals for the future.  For right now, I’m just grateful.

If you could raid one celebrity closet, whose would it be?

That is a tough one!  There are so many great style icons, but if Nicole Richie were my size, she would definitely be my pick.  I love how she mixes bohemian prints in such a fantastic way.  She is fearless and has a confidence that is contagious.  I admire people who take risks with their style and are not afraid of what others will say.


It’s only appropriate that Nicole loves another Nicole’s style:

IMG_9948


 

I don’t know about you guys, but I love everything that Pink Arrows Boutique is about – from how it got it’s name, to Nicole’s attention to detail!  It’s definitely the kind of place I want to tell my friends about.  I’m also all for a supporting local, especially when the woman who owns and runs the boutique wants to represent women of different sizes and styles.

Life is too short to be tearing others down.  We need to support one another and be happy for the achievements of others.  Get out there and spread the word about Pink Arrows, or better yet, come check it out.

You better believe I picked up something for Gia and myself during our Saturday afternoon downtown stroll….


Picture of the goods that Gia and I scored:

IMG_9945


 

Pink Arrows Boutique Business Hours:

Currently the shop is still on “summer hours,” and is open Tuesday/Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.; Thursday/Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., & 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.; Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., & 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.  They are closed Sunday and Monday.

You can make an appointment by e-mailing Nicole at nicoley@pinkarrows.com, or calling 844-264-6456.

They will adjust their night time hours to shorter “winter hours” in November.

Pink Arrows Boutique Address:

301 First Street, Benicia, CA 94510 – They are located in the courtyard between Plein Air Gallery and Gallery 621, just past Rookies Bar and Grill.