Out & About

Shop Local

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We are thrilled to be included on the Shop Local Gift Guide published over at the always-adorable The Cuteness Blog.  Pop on over there for the details on all of the great gift ideas below and be sure to check out what item made item number 1 on her list! Poke around her blog a bit and be sure to follow her on Instagram as well. Her little girls are absolute cherubs!

Shopping local really is so important in our current economic landscape and I’m always so thrilled to be a part of the movement towards shopping small. Thanks, Esther, for including my jewelry!

 

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The Joy of Giving

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Join us this week for one of the very best holiday markets in town! We’ll be at the Joy of Giving Market at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston in the same spot as always!  (Which is the back corner of the main room in case you haven’t been before.)

Come join us for shopping for a good cause. A percentage of proceeds goes to the Women’s Ministry at the church and with over 80 high-end merchants, you’re sure to find LOTS for your holiday shopping list! And don’t miss the ECW Pantry booth, where you can pick up delicious ready-to-serve meals and also wonderful beer bread and soup mixes. Yay for not having to cook this week!

Shop Tuesday night at the preview party or Wednesday and Thursday with free admission. We’ll see you there. . .

 

Our Favorite Shoes

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As a boy mom, I spend far too much time (and money!) on shoes. These boys grow so fast! We’ve gone through so many different brands and styles and have loved some and hated others (and loved a few styles, but hated the quality of them.) I think we’ve finally found our favorite shoes – and we get TONS of compliments on them!

They’re made by Native Shoes and they are absolutely adorable. They look like boat shoes, but are completely made of rubber, which means they hose down easily after a day at the beach, or digging in the dirt. And they come in so many cute colors! Each of my boys has several pair in various colors, because we wear them so often. They look just as good at the beach as they do in pajamas (see below) or going to church! They’re comfortable, breathable and easy to clean (which is key for a boy mom.)

Every time my boys wear them, we get compliments on them and I’m constantly telling people where to get them, since we mamas need to help one another out. And who has time to research cute kids’ shoes all the time? Not me! We’ve bought some on Zappos, which is my go-to for my kids’ shoe shopping, since they’re returns are SO easy and you have 365 days to do it. Shout out to them for such amazing customer service! You can also get them on the Native Shoes website if you’d like different color/size options.

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They look awesome with Christmas pajamas, right? Shown here on our recent trip to Lost Pines Resort. Read more about our fun trip here.

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And they’re even precious with dressy clothes on, making them super versatile!

Lost Pines Vacation

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We visited Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa for a long weekend over Spring Break this year and had the best time! Seriously, this was the first vacation since we had kids over five years ago, after which I actually felt rested and refreshed. HUGE win, friends! Since this place is such an absolute treasure, I wanted to share a bit with y’all about our time there, in case you’re looking for a family-friendly destination in Texas. Lost Pines has everything you’d expect in a resort – from golf to tennis and swimming and a basketball court to a fabulous spa. But, they also have some unique things, like bicycles that you can use all over the property, a game room for the kids and even fishing! There’s something for everyone, so it makes for a great place to travel with other families as well. We went with some dear friends who have two boys close in age to our own crew, which literally quadrupled the fun!

Lost Pines is located in Bastrop, Texas, just about 30 minutes South of Austin on Highway 71. From the moment you walk in, you realize how family friendly the place is. They offer valet (for a fee) or self-park (free) options and are so helpful in getting you unloaded and installed in your room. The rooms are a great size and we were able to put all three boys on the floor in their super cozy sleeping bags and still have the King-sized bed for us (another huge win!) We also chose a first floor room with a patio, which turned out to be one of our best ideas yet. The patio opened onto a large grassy field with sidewalk paths, so the boys were able to play in the grass and scooter on the paths while we sat on the porch sipping coffees or were inside packing up to leave, etc. It was amazing for us and they had a blast having a water gun fight in their pajamas one morning!

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While the accommodations are fantastic – clean, comfortable and lovely – it’s really the activities that shine at this resort. There is just so much to do at Lost Pines! It’s a little like being at an upscale family camp. There are activities for all ages. Our boys are pretty young (all five and under) but the resort would be great for older kids as well, since they offer archery, trap shooting, trail rides, sunset kayaking, rock walls and zip lines and more for the “big kids.” Its easy to give kids a little autonomy in a pretty safe space here, which is always nice.

When we first arrived, we immediately hit the pool area. There’s a lazy river that was great with our little ones who aren’t all strong swimmers just yet, since they could float in the tubes with a bottom on them and feel like they were on little boats. There was also a pool with a huge shallow area that was awesome for them as well and, of course, there are deeper sections with basketball goals and waterslides, etc. It’s like a fun waterpark, but in a size that is manageable for the parents watching their little ones. That night we had cocktails by the fireplace inside during a crazy big thunderstorm that rolled through (and cooled things off for the rest of the weekend – yay!) and then had a delicious dinner and headed to bed.

On the first morning, we went to meet some of the livestock on the property. We watched the staff do a lasso demonstration on some cattle, saw some sweet ponies and heard cool facts about the animals. We also got to see the big horses and pet them. The boys loved it. Later, they had a spot where the boys could climb up on a horse or a longhorn for a photo opportunity. So cute!
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Later in the afternoon, we went over to the Plantation Lawn to check out the family olympics going on. There were tons of fun physical activities for kids of all ages and it made for a great hang out spot where the parents could relax on the lawn while the kids ran around playing. There are games of Capture the Flag, lessons on juggling, giant human hamster balls, sack races, frisbee, wiffle ball and more.

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The resort also has fun craft activities each day, which our boys loved. One day they made puzzles and another they got to create their own bumper stickers. It offered a little creative outlet under the shade of their large, beautiful trees and kept our boys entertained for at least thirty minutes!

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Another fab feature of this place is the playground. It is great for little ones and you can see it from the porch at one of the restaurants, so we were able to let the bigger boys get some wiggles out while we finished our lunch and enjoyed a cocktail. Yay for some adult time on vacation!  {P.S. How cute is this little posse?}

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There are a few fabulous outdoor fire pits that are great for relaxing with a cocktail or cup of coffee. And they have s’mores there in the evenings, which is super fun for the kids (and the adults, too!)

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The property is absolutely gorgeous and its a wonderful place to hike with kids. There’s a cool little pond you can walk to and check out the various creatures who live in it. You can also walk down to the Colorado River, which runs through the property and there are lots of trails around for an easy hike with little ones or a solo run for mom or dad. The entire place is filled with nature and left our boys feeling like adventure explorers!

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Every place you look, Texas-style beauty abounds, making this a fabulous spot for a relaxing vacation in nature. The property is also dotted with darling little vignettes for just sitting still and relaxing in rocking chairs or on cozy benches. One such spot has a giant chess board and outdoor games like horseshoes and washers, which kept our three boys entertained for HOURS!

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The food at Lost Pines is also delicious! There were several options, including a great coffee shop and ice cream place that also has a general market and grab-and-go foods, which made for a great breakfast on our porch one morning while the boys played out on the lawn. There’s also a delicious BBQ spot down by the pool called Old Buck’s Place that really hits the spot after a day of swimming. The Firewheel Cafe had wonderful buffet options at breakfast, lunch and dinner and kids under four are free, so that was fantastic for us! There’s a bar with food and a fancier restaurant option as well, so there are plenty of places to choose from on the property and the food was great! After dinner, we went to the family movie night. Usually, they hold this on the amazing grass lawn amphitheater, but it was really cold and windy while we were there, so they moved it into a ballroom. There was a popcorn machine and everything and it made for a fantastic evening activity!


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There’s also a lovely spa and fitness center. Getting time in those is a huge luxury on a trip for me as a mama of three littles, but I vowed to do both next time we go!

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I just couldn’t get enough of the beautiful flowers and spots for taking a break and relaxing a bit while my boys soaked up the sun with their friends and enjoyed the ranch-feeling of this fabulous resort. There is truly something for everyone here! We cannot WAIT to go back as soon as possible!

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Have you been to Lost Pines Resort & Spa? If so, what were your favorite things there? What other spots in Texas do you visit for a drivable kid-friendly vacation spot? Tell us in the comments below. We love to hear from you!

Legos + Travel

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We are SUPER into Legos in my house. My boys love them and they are entertained by building and rebuilding them for hours, which is wonderful! On our trip to NYC in December, my oldest and I had dinner with my gorgeous and crazy-talented cousin who lives there and we sat in a quaint French restaurant chatting and drinking wine while he built his Legos for 3.5 hours. It was a God-send for us. He was happy and content to be playing Legos quietly and we got to catch up and enjoy a delicious dinner. The only downside was when he would accidentally drop one of those tiny little pieces on the floor of the restaurant. (Don’t worry – he’s so adorable that the people at neighboring tables were more than happy to help us find them!)

Before our next trip, however, I resolved to find a solution for our problem. So, I took to Pinterest, which I love for the fabulous ideas that I find there (though I sometimes also lose that love temporarily when I realize how far the bar of expectations has been raised by all of those amazing ideas.) The other day, however, in researching travel lego solutions, I found a fabulous one and it worked just great, so I wanted to share it with you!

There were lots of Lego travel box solutions on Pinterest, with some using vintage-style lunch boxes, old diaper wipes containers, pencil boxes, etc. I really think that anything would work. Because I wanted to use ours for plane travel, I wanted it to be a little smaller and because my boys are so young, I wanted the latch on it to be pretty secure. I found all of the supplies for ours at Target (along with a few new small Lego sets to surprise the boys with on the trip, since new toys never hurt in keeping them busy!) but you can also find everything on Amazon and they will deliver it straight to your doorstep – amazing! You’ll need a Lego baseplate in your desired color (I went with green), a plastic container that latches closed (I went with this inexpensive Sterilite one with one divider inside), a hot glue gun and either an Exacto knife or a good pair of scissors for cutting the baseplate to fit.

The instructions for the style that I decided to go with is here on an adorable blog called Housewife Eclectic. Her instructions are fantastic, so hop over there and check them out. I will say that neither Gorilla Glue nor Super Glue works well on these types of plastic, so I suggest that you stick with her idea of a hot glue gun.

I decided to surprise the boys with them on the airplane and they were thrilled!  We definitely still had some dropped Legos, but these helped a ton and were great for transporting them and for playing with them in the car!

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We put one green rectangle on the top of the box and another inside, so that they can play with the box open or closed.

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Enjoy!

Introducing Our Pritchard Hill Collection

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Our Pritchard Hill Collection was inspired by a Summer trip to the California wine country and our discovery of a lesser-known spot in Napa, Pritchard Hill.  Our collection features Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year, Marsala, where deep brownish-red garnet abounds. Check out a few of the highlights below and then hop on over to the website to see the full collection here.

Interested to learn more about Pritchard Hill? (You definitely should be!) read our blog post about our incredible visit to one of the premier vineyards there. You won’t want to miss those photos!

Pritchard Hill Photo Grid

Upper left: Vineyard soil
Upper right: Marsala Earrings in Garnet
Lower left: Boon Fly Necklace
Lower right: Wine Pour

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Yountville Earrings in Garnet, Champagne Citrine and Labradorite

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Sea Ranch Necklace in Garnet & Citrine

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Petaluma Earrings in Garnet, Citrine and Pyrite

Introducing Our Carneros Collection

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We are launching our latest collection, which was also inspired by a Summer trip to the California Wine Country. For our stay in Napa Valley, we were at the Carneros Inn, which is a serene property with accommodations that are both luxurious and comfortable at the same time. (Just writing about it has me aching to go back!) The muted orange tones and soft grey colors mixed together with stark white was the inspiration for this collection. Feel a bit of the relaxed sophistication of Napa each time you wear a piece. . . See some of our fav items below and then view the collection on our website here.

 

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Upper left: Domaine Carneros 
Upper right: Oceans Eight Bracelet in Moonstone
Lower left: Asheville Tassel Necklace
Lower right: Vineyards

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Oakville Earrings in Pyrite

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Yountville Necklace in Labradorite and Carnelian

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Petaluma Earrings in Labradorite, Carnelian and Pyrite N7845-BN&TQ_blog Asheville Tassel Necklace in Bone, Pyrite and Turquoise

Sweet Home Alabama

We are headed to Birmingham tomorrow for a trunk show and couldn’t be more excited to see this fabulous Southern town for the first time. (I’m picturing scenes from Sweet Home Alabama and Heart of Dixie and I super home I’m right!)

If you’re in Alabama or have friends there, we would love to see you there. The invitation is below! Email us here for the address and directions. We’ll be at a dear friend’s home in Mountain Brook from 5 to 8pm on Wednesday evening and 9am to 3pm on Thursday. Join us for a cocktail and some sparkly shopping!

Birmingham Fall Trunk Show Invitation