Hot Air Balloons & Sonoma with Catherines

I got to participate in a few fabulous days in Sonoma, CA courtesy of Catherines.  I am a Bay area resident, so this was a much-needed getaway for me that didn't involve me getting on a plane.  A quick hour and a half drive later, I was in one of the most beautiful parts of California.  Upon arrival at the Farmhouse Inn, I was greeted by the Catherine's team.  The arrival day was a day of getting everyone's acquaintance and just take a moment to relax before the following day which promised to be a big day.  

I was excited to see Amanda from I'm Fashionably Late and Rachel from LovelyInLA were my companions for the next couple of days. I love these ladies, and both of them have incredible energy. I arrived in a color-blocked vest, black pants, black tank, and strappy booties (see look above) and all items are from Catherines. (You'll want to note that Catherine's goes up to a 5X and a size 32W.  Catherines is a good place to look for pants and denim, especially if you have a hard time finding those items). I wanted to keep it casual and comfortable for the first day.  Soon after our arrival, we dashed off to lunch at a swanky little farmer's market where they had all of the nom-noms. The rest of the evening we chilled at the pool and jacuzzi.  Some of you guys saw everything happening on Snapchat (@garnerstyle), but I really loved the swimsuit and striped coverup I wore.  It fit great and had the right amount of support. As we off to our rooms for the night, I was told there was a 4:30 am call time and that what we were doing was a surprise.  

The next morning I was informed that we would be going on a hot air balloon ride. This is a bucket list item for a lot of people and thought it was a cool thing to do, but I will be completely honest and let you know that I was scared. Just a note, I am scared of my own shadow, so there's that. HA! I did get to a Facebook live from the balloon so that you can check that out here. It was super cool to be able to do that.  I know a lot of you on Facebook wanted to know about the ride, the weight limits, and if this is something that you can do while plus size.  I got the 411 fromKellie B (AndIGetDressed) on the logistics.  So from what I was told she called around to quite a few hot air balloon companies to verify a couple of things.  The first was safety.  The company she went with had not had any hot air balloon accidents in the 40 years that they were in business.  I know there was an accident not to too long ago, so you want to check around, call and read reviews about the company you choose.  The second thing she asked about was weight limits.  Essentially, instead of being part of a larger group we had our own air balloon.  With different companies, there can be weight limits and the weight in the balloon need to be distributed as evenly as possible.  Because almost everyone in the balloon was plus size, a balloon that is supposed to hold 8 or 10 people only held six people.  From what I gathered, you may want to try to rent out a balloon with friends as opposed to trying just to pay per person to ride. When are paying per person and riding with other people that are where the weight limits come into play. Also, don't give up and call around.  With a little due diligence, I'm sure you can find a company that will accommodate you. The ride itself is a very smooth. The takeoff and landing are equally as smooth. It is a better than an airplane ride. The only thing I would tell you to watch out for is the heat from the balloon fire and to wear sunscreen.  

On the hot air balloon ride, I choose to go casual again. I knew it was probably better that I was able to move and shake if I needed to.  HA! With that in mind, I wore patchwork jeans and an orange embellished top. Both items form Catherines, of course. I love love love these jeans.  I feel like the photo on the website doesn't do them justice. The jeans are so cute in person. Finally, we slipped over to for wine pairings at the Kendall Jackson Vinyard Estates.  We were surrounded by all the wine you could drink (please drink responsibly), a beautiful vineyard, and lovely scenery.   I love a good red wine, so this was right up my alley.  I decided to go with a flow-y Moroaccan  feel with my look. I pair a the black/white dress with the soft jeans from Catherines. I must say I felt a little regal.

The trip overall was wonderful. If you ever get a chance to stay at the Farmhouse Inn, I would highly recommend it.  The accommodations are just so luxurious, and the turndown cookie service made my nights there. 

Outfit Details:  Swimsuit (soldout), Swim Cover, Patchwork Denim, Orange top, Colorblock Vest, Black Pants, Black Tank, Black Dress (sold out)

Thank you Catherine's for sponsoring this post. 
Photos by Christina Emilie
Check out the hashtag #CatherinesgoestoSonoma for more pics.