24 In Style/ Women Now

Style and image consultants share tips and inspiration from Sonoma

Definition of Flawsome

Come be flawsome with me


I promised more news and views from the Nearly Annual MMB Retreat held last week here in Sonoma. If you missed some of the action, you can get caught up here, The MMB Retreat in Sonoma brings in stylish professionals. I cannot tell you how much joy it has brought me to go through my phone and choose these pictures to share with you. If you could see me now at the computer screen (don’t look at my hair!), my grin is matching those of my colleagues below.

See all those smiling faces? Those are style and image consultants taking photos from our meeting room at the Fairmont’s Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa during Style Study. Style Study was when each person had a chance to stand up and share with everyone what they were wearing and why. We’re always advising our clients on what to wear and why so it was fun to share what goes into our own minds when we put outfits together.

Monthly Marketing Bundle program

The MMBers are taking pics of their style study buddies


We heard about a necklace that hadn’t been worn in forty years that came out to play this week in an outfit. One colleague was wearing a bracelet that had come from her mother’s pen pal in New Zealand when her mother was in grade school. Some savvy shoppers shared items they’d found at thrift stores, consignment stores or discount chains. Cardigan sweaters were worn backward, coats were turned into dresses, dresses turned into tunics, layering pieces turned upside down and belted. It was fun, wild, and I can’t wait to share more.

Style Study details

Before I share more examples of Style Study I want to share a term Suzanne (@airofdistinction) introduced us to on Tuesday in her Master Style Class: Breaking the Rules. The term is Flawsome. It’s an adjective and refers to an individual who embraces her “flaws” and knows they’re awesome regardless. 

Is that awesome or what? We played around with that word all week. I don’t want to stop. Let’s be flawsome together, okay?

Back to the retreat: On Wednesday afternoon we scheduled some free time so people could go shopping if they wanted to. Or they could head back to the spa for a massage.

Ginger went shopping with buddies and found this coat at Angelique, a boutique just off the square. It’s trench coat by Samuel Dong, a Canadian designer she knew about already. It has a bubble hem and resonates with one of her style words: exquisite.


Samuel Dong trenchcoat

Ginger from Boston wears a trench coat by Samuel Dong as a dress


She borrowed earrings from Suzanne which came from an artist in Australia. The belt was in her suitcase already. So with just a tiny tweak, she turned her shimmery coat into a belted dress with leggings and heels she had with her.

I love the repeat of the lines in the earrings and the lines in her belt.


Ginger's accessories

Borrowed earrings from an MMBer and her own belt


I should have taken pictures of every single necklace worn last week. There were so many! Here are two I captured. This is Mariann on the left and Bernie on the right. Their necklaces are so kinetic! I love how they take up some much space on the chest. It’s far from a thin gold chain!



Loving the shades of white and pretty necklaces on Mariann and Bernie


Here’s Traci from Cleveland. She explained that she has a full suit in the pattern of her pants. The fabric is fabulous! She often splits the jacket and pants up. They’re by Ouliu. I’m pretty sure I’ve got that right. There’s a list coming of plus-size resources that I’ll share with you as soon as I get it.

The tank T-shirt she’s wearing is white on the top and black on the bottom. She LOVES this T-shirt from Macy’s because it gives the illusion of a waist with the way the white ends and the black begins. The black part covers her fullest area. How clever! She likes using her shimmery scarf to create a longer line. Her blue knit jacket has flattering 3/4 length sleeves. Her glasses are blue too. I love this color palette!


Traci breaks up a blue suit

Traci in shades of blue


I had to call up the Bellas to join me when I explained my outfit. They were with me when we were in Sonoma in November. I spotted this jacket by Heydari in the Sonoma shop called Artifax. I fell in love with the letters. “But where would I wear this?” I said. Practically in unison, they said, “You could wear it at the MMB Retreat!” And I did! I’ll be sharing more about this outfit another time.


Jacket by Heydari

The Bellas made me buy this jacket!


Here’s our Master Style teacher, Suzanne. We’d had a class on taking photos so I’m doing my best to catch of shot of Suzanne on this great picnic table at El Molino Central in Boyes Hot Springs where the group had lunch on Thursday.


Suzanne in plaid men's jeans

Practicing photography skills with Suzanne


Personal style

A luscious mix of black and red and patterns in this personal style


She’s wearing (as she teaches) mixed patterns! She is wearing tartan jeans from the men’s department in a store in Melbourne. Her vintage black kimono is belted at the waist with an obi type belt. She’s wearing a turban on her head (bad hair day, she said) in an animal print which she sees as a neutral. Balancing the design weight on her head are her very lightweight red pom pom earrings. I love her sheer dot hosiery with her patent heeled oxfords. She doesn’t want to look like anyone else. We just adore how much she looks like our style guru, Suzanne!


Mixed patterns

Details of Suzanne’s mix of patterns and accessories


Sara is so elegant and refined. I loved looking at her neutral palette every day. Here she’s mixing prints in a subtle way with her plaid fitted long jacket, her scarf and then take a close look at her bracelet.

Fitted jackets

Sara in her fitted jacket


I love her suede gray booties. I could see those in my wardrobe! Love her ring and even her nail polish is refined.



Catch the details of her ring, bracelet, and patterned jacket


Here’s Carrie who never saw anything glittery that she didn’t like. Her personality is like glitter too! Light, delightful…she just brings joy to every room.

I love how she’s created this column of blue with her knit duster and her cuffed jeans and her blue-gray sandals. Yum!


Dusters with jeans

Carrie wears her column of blue but it has to sparkle!


And how’s this for a color mix? Marj loves navy (it loves her) and this mustard gold. I like how she’s layered this lace top on top of her long-sleeved T-shirt. Remember that when you look at your summer tees or tanks. You could wear one as a layering piece over something long-sleeved right now in February.


Wearing lace tops over T-shirts

Marjory wears a lace knit top over a long-sleeved T-shirt


Do you want to meet someone who has rollerbladed in every state in the USA except three? That would be Jill! She’s from Minnesota and was soaking up the sun last week. She’s wearing a tunic knit colorful top over leggings. She has the most amazing leather jacket collection in colors that aren’t black, gray, or navy. Try orange, turquoise, and blush pink. She told us an unforgettable story about how she got her husband’s eyebrows tweezed. He was reluctant but he isn’t anymore. I don’t think I can share it here but if we meet for coffee, remind me and I’ll tell you!


Spring comes in February to Sonoma

Jill wears a flowy tunic over leggings


The retreat comes to a (tearful) close

Oh no, it’s getting close to the end of the retreat. Okay, now I’m looking at the pictures that have me crying…again. I knew by Tuesday at noon that saying goodbye on Thursday night was going to be tough. Here are Traci and Leigh and me and Marjory toasting to a wonderful time together.


Monthly Marketing Bundle program

Celebrating a great week together with the MMBers


Here’s Danean who is one of my style heroes. I’ve asked if I can write about her and she’s said yes. I love these glorious simple lines on her. That knit top has those fabulous bell sleeves. And take a look at her shoes!


Sleek and modern casual chic evening outfit

Danean demonstrates how simplicity can be divine


And here’s the bunch of us! The fact that I write content for them to use in their newsletters, social media, presentations and such doesn’t sound too sexy, does it? But it’s what has brought us together: the Monthly Marketing Bundle program. We share a desire to grow this industry and make our clients happy. I’m so glad I can use my writing to help make that happen. (Would you please hand me a tissue?)

Have you seen a more flawsome, awesome group lately?


Monthly Marketing Bundle program with Brenda Kinsel

A most wonderful group of women celebrating and expressing style


This is the image of what’s possible after a few days of spending time in one place together enjoying beauty, style, fashion, and personal expression. It’s what it looks like when we’re supporting and mentoring each other in our businesses and growing and deepening friendships. And it’s love, lots and lots of love.

#Iamsolucky  #wearesolucky #MMBsforever #untilnextyear #iloveyouguys

There! Has anything or anyone inspired you? I’d love to hear!


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  • Reply
    February 12, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Flawsome! Love it!
    It’s like the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi: the beauty of imperfection and impermanence that proves we’re alive.
    The photo of you and the ladies toasting your goodbyes is just so fabulous. You’re all so different and so lovely.

    • Reply
      February 19, 2018 at 10:15 am

      I love that, Liz: wabi-sabi. And you’re right. It’s always fun to get together with my colleagues and see how different we all are…as is the world around us.

  • Reply
    Ramona Puckett
    February 13, 2018 at 4:36 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this! You are so inspirational and the ladies! Oh my goodness, so beautiful and unique. Love it!

    • Reply
      February 19, 2018 at 10:15 am

      So glad you enjoyed it, Ramona!

  • Reply
    February 13, 2018 at 6:25 am

    Brenda, I really enjoyed seeing the variety of outfits put together by all these creative women. Would you post links to their blogs/Instagram accounts? I’d love to see more. There’s no such thing as too much inspiration.

    • Reply
      February 19, 2018 at 10:16 am

      I did post Suzanne’s. They don’t all have blogs and Instagram accounts just yet but there was a lot of encouragement in that direction! Stay tuned!

  • Reply
    Katie Ross
    February 13, 2018 at 7:08 am

    Just gorgeous — wish I could have spent time in all of your company!

    • Reply
      February 19, 2018 at 10:16 am

      Me too, Katie!

  • Reply
    February 13, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Thank you for my favorite new word and concept: flawsome! Instead of trying to hide our flaws, or feel embarrassed about them, let’s make ourselves awesome, flaws and all.

    • Reply
      February 19, 2018 at 10:19 am

      I agree! I so love that word and how it releases perfectionism or unrealistic expectations and comparisons.

  • Reply
    February 13, 2018 at 8:35 am

    I love your “text” coat. I would have been asking myself, “ Where WOULDN’T I wear this.”

    • Reply
      February 19, 2018 at 10:20 am

      You’ll be happy to know that over this weekend I wore it to brunch with Russ with your words in my ears! Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Reply
    February 13, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Lovely grouping of “real” women who are not afraid to express themselves! I adore the variety and the effort made by each! I love people watching and soak in ideas from those around me. That’s probably my main source of inspiration.

    • Reply
      February 19, 2018 at 10:21 am

      Well, Sonoma people got lots of inspiration that week if they are anything like you. Shopkeepers and restaurant staff certainly noticed us and had nice things to say!

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Following Augustine
    February 13, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    I’m a self professed word nerd and you’ve just introduced me to a new and delightful one… flawesome! How great is that? If you don’t mind, I may have to introduce it to my own blog readers at some point in the near future.

    Wow! I’m sure we can all take ideas from these beautiful ladies and their fabulous outfits. I think Carrie’s is my favourite, but I can definitely see myself pulling an outfit similar to Jill’s together out of items in my own closet. I’m not quite as adventurous as some of the other ladies, but they challenge me to step a little bit further outside my comfort zone!

    • Reply
      February 19, 2018 at 10:23 am

      Elaine, this word needs to be spread around for sure! I think it was first used by Tyra Bank. When I researched it the earliest I saw it being used was 2013. Let’s canvas that word throughout 2018! I’m glad you found inspiration from the ladies!

  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    February 13, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    How simply beautiful, delightful, brave and adventurous, and of course Inspirational !!!! Thank you, thank you, to all of you ! I admire your generosity and wonderful sisterhood ! Lovely to see women supporting other women to be our best selves ! Thank you Brenda. Sending love from Oz to each of you

    • Reply
      February 19, 2018 at 10:23 am

      You are so generous! Yes, love all around! Thanks, Trinnie. We send Sonoma love your way!

  • Reply
    Katherine Cramer
    February 14, 2018 at 7:46 am

    I received the MMB’s flawsome Valentine via your sharing. Oh, how vibrant and lovely! I am inspired and delighted that you all have such diverse styles. Taking gems on the road (or vitural) would be so helpful. This reminds me of how teachers of The Enneagram offer panels on the various ‘types’ (there are nine) to help people learn more about how each navigate. Perhaps a topic explored by various Style-Makers. In any case, sending gratitude for your wisdoms and playfulness.

    • Reply
      February 19, 2018 at 10:40 am

      Wow, what a great idea! Love the Enneagram and could easily imagine a panel discussing each of them. I’ll have to share this with my buddies and see if they have ideas about the “how” of sharing style. I’m tickled you enjoyed this!

  • Reply
    cindy hattersley
    February 14, 2018 at 8:50 am

    I love that adjective! We all need to embrace it! You are my style hero…love all that you combine with such style and ease!

    • Reply
      February 19, 2018 at 10:41 am

      Thanks so much, Cindy! Means a lot to me!!! And yes, that word will be my word of the year when it comes to my own usage!

  • Reply
    February 14, 2018 at 9:12 am

    LOVE that YOU had such a GOOD TIME!
    Next year…….I want to be a GUEST!I want to observe the FUN!
    I adore that shop where you purchased the LETTER COAT!That is my ANGELA CAPUTI GO TO SHOP!!!!!!!

    • Reply
      February 19, 2018 at 10:42 am

      Thanks, La Contessa Elizabeth! I did think of you during our event! Maybe we’ll figure out a way to involve guests next time. XX

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