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The Joy of Giving

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I love the name of St. Martin’s Holiday Market…The Joy of Giving. It’s a great one because it reminds us that giving to others produces joy within us and during the craziness of the holiday season, that truth can get a little lost sometimes.

We had such a great time at this year’s market. This is always one of my favorite shows, primarily because of the customers. Having been a vendor there (and in the same spot every year!) I’ve really gotten to know so many of the people who shop at the show faithfully each year and have developed quite a loyal following of friends there, which makes it way more fun! I love connecting with people, hearing what designs are their favorite and knowing who they’re shopping for gifts for this year. One of my favorites is when moms and daughters come together and shop with me. It is so sweet seeing the daughters tell their moms what they like and then watching as the mom exudes such joy buying something she knows for certain that her daughter will love and having also been a part of the selection process with her. It’s such a neat bonding time for women, whether they be best friends shopping for one another or moms (or grandmothers!) and their daughters. I love seeing people taking time to come together during what has become a crazy season for most people. Plus, 15% of your purchases go directly to Houston ministries that help those who are struggling in various ways, so that brings joy to all as well!

In case you couldn’t join us, below are some photos from the event. And if you’d like to shop with us in the studio this season, check out our studio hours here.

 

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Shades of blue from our Bodega Bay collection.

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People are loving our labradorite and freshwater pearl Yountville necklace!


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These necklaces have been SO popular! We can’t keep them in stock.
They look great worn long or looped through as a lariat for a shorter look!

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Our popular Petaluma earrings in Swiss and London blue topaz and pyrite

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Gorgeous greys

 

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IMG_7620Our booth at The Joy of Giving Market this year!

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The Blues of Bodega Bay

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On the Sonoma Coast of California sits the enchanting Bodega Bay where the sandy beaches are met with a beautiful rocky coastline. Tide pools abound, surfers congregate and whales can be spotted migrating through the area. This is the perfect place for a romantic getaway where you can relax on the beaches in the evening, listening to the waves crash, sipping the new wine you discovered during the day in Sonoma.

This collection was inspired by the wide spectrum of blue shades in Bodega Bay. From the coastal skies on a grey, overcast day to the clear blue sky on a bright, sunny day at the beach, luxurious London blue topaz and beautiful Swiss blue topaz abound. Like the Pacific ocean waves, seafoam-colored Peruvian opal splashes up against the shimmering grey of pyrite. Brushed gold vermeil and white freshwater pearls add a sophisticated coolness. Serenity is the overarching theme of this collection and upscale gemstones bring richness and a chic feel to the nature-inspired designs.

I hope that you love it as much as I do!

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Shop. Save Money. Save Lives.

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Enjoy 20% Off This Week!

Join us in supporting the American Cancer Society by shopping with the Holiday Shopping Card!
Receive 20% off your purchase of Andrea Montgomery Designs through November 1, 2015 with the Holiday Shopping card at our Houston studio!*

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*Offer valid for 20% off your entire purchase in our Houston studio with the Holiday Shopping Card through Sunday, November 1st. Holiday Shopping Cards may be purchased at our studio for a minimum donation of $75 paid directly to the American Cancer Society. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotion or used on sale items.  Offer cannot be applied toward previous purchases, gift card purchases or online purchases. Other restrictions may apply. Please inquire for details.

Come Say Hi This Week in Houston!

Logo-4-01-300x245We are SO excited for this week!  It’s one of our very fav markets of the year!  Great food, amazing shopping finds from over 90 vendors from all over the country and the nicest people around all make for one of Houston’s best holiday markets!

We’ll be in the same spot as always in Booth 111 in the Bagby Parish Hall (that’s along the farthest East wall in the main front room closest to Woodway) and we are bringing all of our new Fall collections before they’re available on our website. So come on by and get a preview and start your holiday shopping in style!

Here are the details on the hours of the market this week…

JOG Market Hours

And if you’d like to know which vendors are coming this year, here’s a full list below. There are lots of fun new vendors coming that we can’t wait to shop. Our dear friends at Maison Pernoud are coming for the first time this year. You will LOVE the French antiques that Kate travels the world to bring home to you. They are gorgeous! The girls at A Little Eye Candy are always in the know about the latest fashion accessories and they are loads of fun!  The Smocked Frock always has the cutest traditional children’s clothing – perfect for your Christmas card photos. We heart Marye-Kelley and her always-a-great-gift decoupaged items. Her picture frames, tissue covers and wastebaskets are our favs! Paris Texas Apparel Co will be back this year with their gorgeous ties, tees and more for the Texas-loving man in your life. (My man rocks these all the time!) Pomp and Circumstance is bringing some of the best finds from their popular Houston boutique – affordable and fashionable, who can resist that? And we love the goodies at Tres Chic. I just bought the cutest leather purse in their Houston store and can’t wait to see what all they’re bringing to the market. All in all, there is surely something for everyone, so come by and say hi.

See you at the market!

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My New Favorite Shoes

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I’m the first to admit it. I have a slight problem with shoes. The problem being that I rather love them, possibly a little too much. Let’s face it, the right pair of shoes can make an outfit. And they always fit, which is nice (and which cannot be said for my favorite pair of jeans!) I recently discovered a new shoe company and had to share the deets with you.

M. Gemi is a new company that makes limited-edition shoes that are handcrafted in small batches by artisan cobblers in Italy. Because they are small production and sell directly, they are able to keep the cost of handmade shoes affordable. Each pair of shoes I have ordered has been expertly crafted and are high quality and their designs are fantastic and wear well. Each Monday, they put out a few new shoes and when they’re sold out, they’re gone. Occasionally, they will bring back the high-demand shoes and you can join a waitlist for notification about that, but it is wise to jump on a pair if you really love them. They send a weekly email introducing the new shoes or, if you’re an iPhone shopper like me, there’s a very well-designed app that will notify you as well.

There are several things that I love about this brand that has made me fall in love with them…

They offer free shipping and free returns. That makes trying out their shoes easy and free! You have two weeks to try on their shoes and return any you don’t like for a full refund. Their product descriptions are great, their product photos are detailed, their “fit assistant” is very helpful and they show you a few outfits that the shoes would look exceptionally good with, which I find really helpful and fun when shopping. They offer great customer service. If you have questions, their staff is both available and knowledgable. If you have a problem, they are quick to respond and make it right. The small batch production means you won’t see your shoes on every single person you walk past, which I really like. They are committed to a “less, but better” philosophy and they even include a bag with free shipping where you can donate an old pair of shoes to make room in your closet for your new ones.

Below are a few photos from my first order unboxing! (Please forgive my use of an antiqued mirror for a few of them!) I love the personalized attention to detail in the note with my name on it and the gorgeous box it comes in. I rarely keep shoeboxes, but these are so strong and lovely, that I kept them for storage purposes. I love the strong, clean lines on their shoes. They’re both elegant and comfortable, which is a rare combination! I highly recommend you check out M.Gemi ASAP. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!


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Beautiful packaging, sweet personalization and a great box!

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I love this program – just wonderful!

 

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Great customer service, right from the start

 

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The lovely packaging with copper metallic lettering

 

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Leather shoes with pony hair uppers – I’m in LOVE!

 

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Cure + Comfy

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I love the lines on these shoes. You can certainly tell they are handcrafted.

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Love these fun fringe ones!

 

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Stunning lines make a gorgeous heel!


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Suede meets patent leather for a mixed media look that is beautiful!

 

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Loving these with jeans as well!

It’s Finally Time…

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After months of working on it, we are thrilled to announce the launch of our brand-new website! It’s filled with new content, features that make it easier to shop and a new wish list function that makes it simple to share your favorite designs with others. And best of all, this new design is responsive (which is tech speak for it’s just as easy to view & shop on your tablet or phone as it is your laptop – wahoo!)

 
We’re sure you’re going to love it.
 
So, pop on over for a visit! And let us know what you think in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Which Lovely?

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If you know me well, you know that I adore my Day Designer. (Even if you don’t know me well, you may have read about it here on the blog!) Whitney English and her Day Designer have been keeping me organized, in lovely fashion, for the past year. Alas, my current book is nearing the end of its calendar life, but fret not, as there are new (and improved!) editions available for this next one.

On the upside, the new covers are gorgeous! On the downside, the new covers are so gorgeous, that I’m having a hard time choosing one. The August editions launch tomorrow and these sweet lovelies tend to sell out quickly, so there’s no time to delay in my usual “analysis paralysis”, so I’m turning to you all for advice. Which one should I purchase, friends? It’s a year-long commitment, so I’m going to need your help!

The three cover options are below. (And all images on this post are courtesy of the Day Designer website – aren’t they beautiful?) Which one would you pick? And which would you recommend for me?

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My Best Invention EVER

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I’ve been designing jewelry for fifteen years now. I LOVE the thrill of designing something completely new, especially when it is something I can’t wait to wear myself. Often, my designs come from a need in my own wardrobe, which makes them all the more satisfying when I finish hand making them and get to flaunt them!

Recently, however, I invented something completely different. (Let’s just agree to use the term “invent” loosely, so as not to burst my bubble of excitement, okay?) My sweet hubs and I are on our second round of Whole30. (Between you and me, I like to call it my third round because our first go at it, we did 62 days in total – I really feel like that should count as two, but I digress, so…back to my genius.) A key component of a Whole30 is the homemade mayonnaise and I’ve discovered since making it that it is WAY better than any store-bought mayo I’ve ever tasted. In fact, I’m not even sure they should share a name, it is so much better. We use the mayo in burger bowls, mixed with lemon juice and fresh dill on top of salmon, mixed with chicken pieces, slivered almonds and grapes for a quick chicken salad protein fix or mixed with tuna, slivered almonds and chopped apple.  It’s even good as a salad dressing when thinned out with lemon juice and spices of your choice. And, of course, its the base for the dressing (almost like a tzatziki sauce) for my very favorite dish – Deconstructed Gyros. Like I said, its a key ingredient for us.

My favorite recipe for said homemade mayonnaise is from Mel Joulwan on her blog Well Fed (please note this was formerly listed in my other posts as The Clothes Make The Girl, but I think she has changed her blog name because it now redirects to Well Fed.) The only bummer about making homemade mayo for a poor planner like me is that you need to let your eggs and your lemon juice come to room temperature before you can start (hello, waiting an hour) and that you have to pour the oil into the Vitamix VERY, VERY slowly. (Sidenote: I love my Vitamix. We have the professional series one, though the standard model is equally fabulous, and it was definitely an investment, but that little machine has MORE than paid off over the four years we have had it. It is my most often used tool in the kitchen and BY FAR my favorite part about it is its self-cleaning setting. That’s a huge part of the reason that I use it so often. It’s incredible. Okay, back to the amazing mayo you can make in it…)

But the great news for you, my friends, is that I have solved the second of these problems. With a little inventiveness and a splash of creativity, making homemade mayonnaise got WAY easier. I’ve done two rounds of Whole30 with a group of dear friends/amazing women, because it is just so much more fun that way. And all I have to say is that you would think I solved the world peace problem by the reaction my girls gave me on this invention (of course, that may be why we are such dear friends!)

All you need for my invention is. . . a styrofoam or plastic cup and an icepick or needle or the like. That is it!  It helps if your styrofoam cup is a super cute one like mine pictured below. I mean, how funny is that at preschool baseball practice? Anyway…

All you do is remove the center of the top of your Vitamix, poke a TINY hole (and I mean tiny) in the bottom of your disposable cup, set said cup on the top of the Vitamix and pour in the extra light olive oil that you’re supposed to be patiently pouring at a snail’s pace in order to make the perfect fluffy, emulsified homemade mayonnaise. Then, you turn your Vitamix on and voila it does all of the work for you as you sit back and take a short (and well-deserved) rest. I like to store mine in a quart-sized wide mouthed mason jar for easy access and I have lots of those on hand for my to-go salads! Per the recipe, the mayo should be good for about a week past the expiration date on the eggs you use in making it.

Go ahead. Give it a try and tell me if it isn’t just life-changing!

 

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I love the lighter flavor olive oil (this one is from Kroger) since it doesn’t give an olive-y taste to the mayo. (Note that the spices shown in the photo are for the Deconstructed Gyro dressing linked above.)

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Mint, parsley, red pepper and za’tar = yum!

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Here it is, folks! Best. Invention. Ever. (And crazy inexpensive!)

 

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PS. How fun is my styrofoam cup? (And it’s not really vodka.)

Tasting at Ovid

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Living in San Francisco spoils you in many ways. Beautiful views at every glance, incredible food, abundant culture and proximity to fabulous vacation spots abound. One such spot is, of course, the wine country.

When we lived in SF, we could be in Sonoma in 45 minutes and Napa just a smidgen longer and we took advantage of that. . .a lot! When driving up for the day was as common as it was for us, we didn’t have to choose our vineyard visits and tastings very carefully – after all, we knew we could drive up again next weekend!

Now that we are back in Texas (and seriously missing those wine country visits!) we were so thrilled to take a trip back to Napa for a visit. Our friend turned 40 this year and his adorable wife planned the most incredible party for him at their ranch in the wine country. It was an absolute blast! (But I digress…)

Hubs and I decided to head up a few days early (our first trip sans kids – yikes!) and do a little wine tasting – and getting to know one another again. It’s amazing how much talking with one another we got done when we weren’t being interrupted by little voices the whole time! As you know, hubs is a major wine guy, so he planned all of the tastings. He loves research and during his reading, he asked me if there were any places that I wanted to visit. Well, hubs may be the wine guy, but I have a dear friend who is a sommelier (which is not an easily-earned title, let me tell you!)  See? I have connections, too! So, I emailed my friend Amy who recently founded the Bay Area Wine Company who gave me a few “not to be missed” tasting ideas, one of which was Ovid. Hubs was ecstatic, as that was one of the wineries on his list, so a phone call later, we were booked!

Ovid sits on Pritchard Hill and let me tell you, I wasn’t prepared for the fabulousness of this wine tasting experience. The surrounding beauty, the gorgeous facilities, the incredible wines and the lengthy two-on-one chat with our friendly hostess, Janet, a managing partner at the winery, were absolutely unparalleled. We had some great tasting experiences on our trip, but this was probably our very favorite.

Ovid makes only three wines and doesn’t even make each of those every single year. They create as the harvest allows and are committed to only using the best of the best in their wines, which means that some years, a particular wine doesn’t get made. Ovid grows four Bordeaux varietals:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot and farms them all organically. Varying proportions of each are used in their blends. You can read more about their wines on their lovely website here.

If you’re near Napa or planning a trip there soon, I highly recommend giving Ovid a call to see if they can fit you in. There is a waiting list for their wines, but we were able to purchase a few at our tasting on their beautiful property on Pritchard Hill. I’m positive that your palate will thank you!

For now, take a “mini tour” through our photos below. As you can see, they are committed to making each visitor feel special and literally set out the silver and crystal for us. We enjoyed such a nice, long chat with Janet and truly felt like we left as friends, having talked about wine, the changes in the California landscape, raising children and just about everything else in between! Did I mention that they sent us a handwritten thank you note after our visit? Astounding attention to detail, my friends. THAT is what great products are made from!

 

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When you first walk in, you’ll notice that your name is written on the Ovid chalkboard.
They’ve been expecting you and you’re an honored guest!

 

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So much so, that THIS is your lovely place setting.

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No attention to detail has been left to chance

 

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It is like a friend set the table beautifully, just for you.

 

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Sweet details

 

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Delicious bites!

 

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Thoughtful details.

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A lovely living-room-like setting for a tasting!

 

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(PS. I fell in LOVE with this glassware!)

 

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How lovely is THIS piece of furniture?

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Beautiful and meaningful – I wanted to open each one of these!

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A fire pit on the balcony

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Stunning views from the tasting room

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You can see so much of Napa Valley from up here!

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Lovely

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The valley

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Pretty sure I could sit here for hours and never tire of it!

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Ovid Vineyards…a must-visit!