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Life & Family | Andrea Montgomery Designs | Page 7

Life & Family

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…)

b. patisserie

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Oh, dear.  I’ve discovered yet another adorable coffee shop in San Francisco and this one’s got amazingly delicious pastries.  And worse, its right in our neighborhood – just a few short blocks from my house.  Yikes!

The other day, we walked over to b. patisserie on California and Divisadero with the kids.  The shop was opened by quite a pair.  Belinda Leong was formerly the pastry chef at Gary Danko (one of my favorites!) and Michel Suas, a native of France, started his career as a pastry chef in Paris.  Not only is this place gorgeous inside, but it is filled with a delicious aroma and equally tasty treats!  They serve Four Barrel coffee and espresso and it is delish as well!  This is a fabulous place to sit, take a breath and contemplate life or to catch up with friends over a steaming latte.  The setting is crisp and serene and the food may have you heading back through the line more than once! (more…)

Gorilla BBQ

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Being a Texas gal, BBQ is definitely something that I miss here in California.  There’s nothing quite like sitting outside on the patio at Goode Company with old school country music playing, Shiner in hand, enjoying one of their chopped brisket sandwiches on jalapeño bread with extra sauce for dipping.  Seriously.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Pure Texas.

So when my friend Dave Lomas told me that there is good BBQ within driving distance of SF, we had to check it out.  Down in Pacifica, there’s a place called Gorilla BBQ.  It’s basically located in an old trailer on the side of the highway and they sell their BBQ until they run out.  And then they close.  The first time we tried to go (around 4pm on a Saturday after the kids’ naps,) they were sold out.  Bummer.  (Don’t feel too badly for us – we made the most of it with a sunset picnic on the beach down in Pacifica.) (more…)

There’s Power In No Plans

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Today is a guest blog post by my friend Bethany Factor.  She’s one incredible and creative mama and she has some fabulously fun ideas to share and a great perspective-altering video as well…

Bethany is a mom of four kids 5 years old and younger. She recently launched a website called ThumbWar to help make you a better mother, father, spouse and employee. Her website is the perfect combination of personal assistant and best friend. She has created Houston’s largest parent rated activity and camp network. ThumbWar “battles boredom.” She is currently working on adding Houston’s largest parent rated pediatrician and pediatric dentist network. She is always interested in franchisees as well. (more…)

I Scream, You Scream…

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…we all scream for ice cream!  What to do on a Saturday night in Summer…grab a cone, of course!  Even though it it officially “Fogust” here in San Francisco, the fifty-degree weather didn’t stop us from a little frozen indulgence tonight.  We packed up the kids and headed over to the original location of the Bi-Rite Creamery.  If you haven’t yet tried this local spot, you owe it a visit.  Their ice cream is handmade and their dedication to detail is apparent in every bite.  They’ve got fabulous unique flavors and I have yet to try one that I don’t like. (more…)

The Summer of Fun

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My dear husband has been working his tail off for many, many, many years.  We’ve got a small break in between this and more hard work to come and so we are taking a little bit of a sabbatical between jobs.  Two whole months of family time.  I couldn’t BE more excited.  As we’ve been planning for this time (there’s so much to do and so much lost time to make up for!) we have lovingly dubbed it “The Summer of Fun.”  We may or may not even have a calendar of upcoming events for the Summer of Fun.  (Hey, if you don’t plan, there’s no way to get it all done!)  We’ve got a lot on our San Francisco “bucket list” and we’re going to do our best to knock out as many of them as we can. (more…)

Smitten Ice Cream

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San Francisco is a city of invention.  The city breeds new ideas pretty much nonstop.  The people who live in it are ambitious and are game-changers.  They create new apps, new technology and new social services.  They write books, start companies and create art.  And the people of San Francisco are always cultivating change with new ideas – even in ice cream. (more…)