9.20.2013

friday foto: falling into fall.

I'm so excited it's finally Fall. I picked up these fun pencils at the dollar spot at Target a couple of weeks ago, and they make me so happy. Pencils are one of my favorite signs of the season.
I'm also spotting piles of pumpkins and apples at the market, and I'm so ready in mind and spirit, though you would never know if you walked into our home. While I'm in the mood for comforting casseroles and soups, it still feels and looks a lot like summer around here. Turning the oven up doesn't feel quite right just yet. 

I hope that wherever you are, you are enjoying each day, in whatever season strikes you. This transitional month of September is one of my favorites, and last night, I was reminded to slow down and not wish it away so soon. 

Our neighbor brought home her baby boy yesterday, and when I looked this new beautiful mom in the eyes, it hit me that my pregnancy will come and go before I know it. I have been trying to speed time up - maybe it's because I feel more tired these days, or maybe it's because I forgot that pregnancy isn't a walk in the park - but when I saw my friend, taking on her new life that's changing by the minute, it literally took my breath away. I'm so happy for our new parental friends and I'm thankful that they've helped me remember to take each day one step at a time even when it feels like a race. 

Congratulations to two of Mari's very favorite people (and one very special dog) on Earth!

For more Friday Fotos, start here.

9.17.2013

five questions with: bella beach's kris d'errico.

Well, hello there. Life is just zooming along. Totally whizzing me by. Eddie recommended that I put up a Friday Foto last week since my posting fell off the blogosphere - which of course never happened - but I do appreciate that someone out there is looking out for my cyber well-being. Even if he is my roommate.

If you're joining me this week, thank you for bearing with the drought. I'm happy to say that I'm back with a big one today: an official "five questions with" interview with Kris D'Errico of Bella Beach and Bella Beach Kids in Manhattan Beach.
If you're a local, there's no doubt you've been into her carefully curated stores. Over the last few years, we've gotten to know and become good friends with Kris and her husband, business partner and Manhattan Beach City Councilman Tony D'Errico. They are two very busy and inspiring people, and we just love spending time with them.

When I'm stuck searching for a sweet baby gift or a little addition to my home, there's no doubt I can find what I didn't even know I was looking for at Bella Beach or Bella Beach Kids. A longtime Lilly Pulitzer devotee, Kris' shop is the only one around who carries signature Lilly fashions and products, and this weekend, she's helping sponsor Lunch with Lilly, a fundraiser to benefit the Palos Verdes Art Center.
Over lunch at Bella Beach's next door neighbor Simmzy's, we talked about her Lilly love, how she started her small, booming business with her husband and her favorite way to spend a free night. Let's dive in.

one: how did it all start?
Manhattan Beach is a part of my DNA. I grew up here, and my first jobs included working at local boutiques, including Cotton Cargo, Dolly Rocker and 3rd Gallery, which inspired my dream of owning my own store. When the economy changed five years ago, coveted space was becoming available in downtown Manhattan Beach, so we took the plunge and opened Bella Beach. Shortly after, one of the town's children's stores closed, so I saw an opportunity to open a kids component. When the space next to us became available, I decided to open up an entire kids store, and it was like having twins! And jumping feet first into this business that has been a wonderful ride ever since.

two: what's it like running a business with your husband [a very busy husband who is a local political figure]?
We work really well together. We each bring different skill sets to the business side of our relationship, both personally and professionally. He runs the day-to-day business operations and I'm the creative, running all customer-facing operations. Together, it gives us shared goals and helps make our personal relationship stronger and more dynamic. While we live, eat and breath our stores and Manhattan Beach and we don't rest, we feel really fortunate and blessed to work with each other, and are excited about being able to share it.

three: what's the best and worst part of owning your own beautiful shop?
The best part is building customer relationships and being part of this community. And, a lot of the things we sell are by local designers, so we truly preach and practice buy and shop local. I also love being surrounded by really beautiful things. But it's like working in an ice cream shop - you can't eat all the ice cream!
The worst thing is that running a business is on your mind 24/7 and it's hard to disconnect. Sometimes we have to physically leave the city to get a little freedom and really enjoy a day off.

four: we're seeing some lovely new things for the fall... tell us more.
This year, for women, we're seeing lots of different styles with metallics and lightweight sweaters with feminine embellishments. Burgundy is the hot hue, from everything to leather dresses, to lace and silks. It's a really gorgeous fall palette.

For little girls, tunic and legging sets are taken to the next level with ruffles and other special touches. Tutu dresses continue to trend, and with the birth of the royal baby, there's been a real shift towards classic dressing for babies and kids. Today, parents have more choices than ever to dress their kids.

five: we know you love to cook - what's your favorite thing to make for friends and what are some of your favorite restaurants in town?
Tony is Italian, and we have a love for all things Italian - our stores are named Bella Beach for good reason! Tony and I love to cook together, and our favorite thing to make is homemade pasta or pizza on the grill. Tony's specialty is his Aunt Antoinette's eggplant and is usually everyone's request. And, when we cook and eat at home, we love to enjoy good red Italian wine or anything from our friend's Los Olivos winery, Demetria.

In town, we love to dine locally. Our favorites include Simmzy's, MB Post, The Strand House, Café Pierre and Petros.

Thank you, Kris for the good conversation and for your little space of shopping bliss in MB. 
By the way: our love affair with Bella Beach really started when I was pregnant with Mari and was agonizing over strollers. Such a big decision that I was not taking lightly. It turns out that Bella Beach Kids exclusively sells UPPABaby strollers, and they happen to be experts in every thing UPPA. Not only did they put our beautiful stroller together for us, they spent hours with me talking about safety, options for expanding when we have more kids and more. It's customer service done so right, and we're of course going back for more so we can add onto our beautiful Vista later this year. It's worth a stop-in for the stroller knowledge alone if you're expecting. They are experts.