Life & Family

Sam’s Anchor Cafe

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After a super fun day hiking in Muir Woods, hubs and I drove over to Tiburon to hit Sam’s Anchor Cafe, where we enjoyed a few cold beers and some seafood fare while soaking up the sun (the redwood canopy in Muir Woods keeps it shady, cool and often foggy) and noshing on some seafood.  While I can’t say that the food was anything outstanding, it tasted great to us after a full day of hiking.  Honestly, you go to Sam’s more for the views – and they are totally worth it!  Our afternoon felt like a mini-vacation and this stop made us feel like we’d taken a detour to Key West (well, without the Jimmy Buffet and partying craziness – just the relaxed oceanside atmosphere part.)  If you’re in the area and are looking for a little relax time with a cold beer and gorgeous views, this place is absolutely worth a visit! (more…)

Muir Woods

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California is famous for its redwood trees.  Until you’ve experienced them in person, however, you cannot fully appreciate how incredible they really are.  This Summer, as part of our Summer of Fun adventure, hubs and I had a date day and went hiking in Muir Woods.  Muir Woods is located near Mt. Tam in Marin County, just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge from the city.  The national park offers absolutely stunning views and is a gorgeous hike.  The Main Trail in the park is pretty easy and is generally pretty packed with tourists and cameras.  It is a really amazing place where you can soak up nature’s peacefulness and beauty. (more…)

Houston Zoo Lights

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On Friday night, we packed up the fam in warm clothes and a little rain gear and met some dear friends at the Houston Zoo for their holiday Zoo Lights event.  Each evening through January 4th (except December 24th and 25th) from 6pm to 10pm, the Zoo opens up to show off the 1 million holiday lights they’ve put up all over the grounds.  You can grab a cup of hot chocolate and wander through the old oak trees in the zoo, listening to holiday music and checking out the beautiful light displays.  There’s even a cool map to guide you through, with descriptions and photos on the Houston Zoo app, which I downloaded on iTunes for free before we went.  Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door and kids under two are free.  There are food and snacks throughout the zoo as well. (more…)

My (Smelly) Secret

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I love Christmas.  Like, a lot.  I know, I know.  Everyone says that.  But I really, really, really love it.  Like, I get sad the day after Thanksgiving because that marks the beginning of the true Christmas season and I feel like that means it is already slipping away.  That’s crazy, right?  My husband certainly thinks so.

I love the meaning of Christmas most of all.  Beyond that, I love the music, the gorgeous decorations, the yummy treats, the chilly weather, the hot chocolate, the beautifully adorned trees…  The list truly goes on and on.  When I was a little girl, we discovered that I’m allergic to real Christmas trees.  Total bummer, I know.  But, what can you do?  Sneezing your way through the Christmas season is no way to enjoy this magical time. (more…)

San Francisco Bound!

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Today, we are packed up and headed to San Francisco (where I definitely left my heart in September!) We haven’t been back since we moved to Texas and we are SO excited to see dear friends there – and to visit some of our favorite haunts (read:  eat really good food and drink delicious lattes!)  I have two jewelry shows in two different cities on back-to-back days there, so I’m sure to be a busy gal, but I promise to blog about our trip as I’m able, so you’ll know all about some of our favorite hotspots for your next visit to Fog City.  One of the shows is a private home trunk show on Friday morning – if you’re interested in that, email us here.  The second is the Junior League of Palo Alto Home Tour show on Saturday.  For more information about that, click here.

See you soon, SF friends!

Holiday Cards and the Custom Experience

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IT’S FALL Y’ALL!

That saying always cracks me up.  Perhaps because it’s in part cheesy, perhaps a little cheeky.  I mean, can’t you just hear it rolling off the tongues of every stereotypical, big hair, big drawl southern Texas lady? Or perhaps its just because it adds a little humor into a season that often proves stressful.  If you are anything like me, Fall is blindingly busy.  (I think we can now say that about every season.)  But Fall tends to accelerate at a pace that seems faster than any other…most likely due to the fact that you now see Halloween and Christmas catalogues arriving by mail in summer, and holiday lights going up in September.  Each season that arrives seems to focus on the next season.  It becomes increasingly important for us, and for our families, to try and slow down. (more…)

My New Erin Condren Planner

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I’ve always been a “paperless” gal. I think it comes from my years in consulting, when I rarely stayed in one city for more than a few nights and had my badge of pro-traveler honor, platinum status, on an airline or two and at more than one hotel chain. (Looking back, it may be a little sad that the hotel staff knew me by name in more than one city!) I quickly became a pro at packing and traveling with as absolutely little as possible, which is key for being nimble in airports, switching flights last-minute and lowering general frustration levels when traveling. All that is to say, I certainly didn’t save room for a paper organizer and was completely digital in as many ways as possible.

Now, however, my life looks very different.  With two children and a full-time jewelry design business, I have a zillion things to write down and organize. Suddenly, a paper organizer just makes sense. With the upcoming holiday season approaching and all of the markets that I participate in, I need a place to organize all of the setting up, show details and such. I also need a place where I can write notes to myself while at the shows, and my current post-it note method is failing miserably. Inevitably, customers mention something to me at a show and I promise something and then at the end of a busy day, after chatting with thousands of customers, I have absolutely no idea what we talked about! Enter my new planner.

A few years ago for Christmas, my sister-in-law gave me a calendar from Erin Condren and I loved the colors and font and fun feel of it, which made it fun to actually use! Actually, she ordered the organizer and had it sent to me and it arrived with the wrong name on the cover. I called the company and they were so kind and quick to replace it, free of charge. Yay for great customer service!

So, this year, when I needed a new planner, I went straight to the Erin Condren website and found out that you can customize your cover with your own photos – genius! So, I uploaded some jewelry photos and, voila! A few days later, this beauty arrived…


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Isn’t she cute?  I love the fact that it is customized with photos of my own jewelry designs, and I’ve already gotten tons of compliments on it at a holiday market. There are monthly views and weekly column views, pockets for keeping loose bits of paper which is key for me!), cute stickers for decorating the pages and marking special events, an adorable personalized notepad at the back and a cute little clear zippered pouch for storing paperclips, post-it notes, etc. Photos of the inside below.

If this baby doesn’t keep me more organized, I’m afraid that nothing will! What are your favorite organization tools? Please share in the comments below, as I can use ALL of the help that I can get!

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A Lovely Cup of Tea

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Today’s friend that you need to know about is JennaDee Detro.  In addition to being a fabulous mother, darling friend and a talented photographer, she’s now launched a family company that produces tea right here in Texas!  She’s a really fun girl and I just know you’re going to love her, so without further adieu, here is JennaDee…

I’ve known Andrea for years, having both grown up in Houston.  We chatted often about running our own small businesses (her amazing jewelry and my photography company – studiodetro.com) and later corresponded via email about full time motherhood and small business ownership.  Not surprisingly, I’ve met some fabulous clients and friends compliments of Andrea’s amazing networking skills.   (more…)

Insider Tips on Great Photo Sessions

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Look at that precious little face above!  Isn’t he darling?  That’s my friend Gus’ son and he is just as precious in person as he is in that adorable photograph.  He’s a lucky little boy because his dad is an expert photographer, so he’s going to have loads of photos that are just as cute as this one.  What a well-documented life this little guy will have!  Gus is a dear friend of ours from our church in San Francisco, Reality, and has photographed our family numerous times – from baby photos of our first son to the birth of our second son to birthday parties and holiday cards in between, we LOVE having Gus photograph our family.  In fact, you’ll see some of the ones he has taken of us in the full post!  I’m always a little overwhelmed by the process of coordinating outfits for all four of us that blend well in color, but aren’t too matchy-matchy and in picking a cool location for our photos and getting the littles’ naps and meals coordinated just right so that he has happy and well-rested subjects to shoot.   (more…)

Secrets from a Sommelier

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You know those friends that you bond intensely with over a major milestone in your life?  The ones that become fast, but also deep, friendships because you go through something together that absolutely bonds you for life?  For me, the friends that I met through our playgroup (organized by GGMG here in San Francisco) were just like that.  We bonded over having our first babies together and I think because most of us are raising them far away from family, that bond is intensified even more.  Amy is one of the moms from our playgroup and she and I were friends from day one.  Amy is the kind of friend that will literally bend over backward for you in your time of need.  She will stay up all night working on something for you, answer your phone calls at any time of night and generally has your back, no matter what you need.  She’s a fantastic mom, an organized person…oh, and a sommelier. (more…)