One of the best things about living in our neighborhood is the sense of community here. It is (literally) a small town in the middle of a big city and it has such a unique feel to it. For our family, it reminds us of our wonderful time in San Francisco, a city amazingly good at fostering a sense of community within the various neighborhoods.
One thing that reinforces this neighborhood feel is when our local businesses reach out get involved. One fabulous example of this is Tiny’s No. 5. Every Halloween, Tiny’s hands out their famous chocolate chip cookies (seriously the best I’ve ever had!) to the neighborhood trick or treaters. They are delish and were the best treats we got last night!
It’s so neat to see how the community here gathers together on Halloween. It is reminiscent of the small town America of days gone by. Of course the “fresh out of the oven” chocolate chip cookies don’t hurt either!
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!
Beautiful packaging, sweet personalization and a great box!
I love this program – just wonderful!
Great customer service, right from the start
The lovely packaging with copper metallic lettering
Leather shoes with pony hair uppers – I’m in LOVE!
Cure + Comfy
I love the lines on these shoes. You can certainly tell they are handcrafted.
Love these fun fringe ones!
Stunning lines make a gorgeous heel!
Suede meets patent leather for a mixed media look that is beautiful!
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!)
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?
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!
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!
So much so, that THIS is your lovely place setting.
No attention to detail has been left to chance
It is like a friend set the table beautifully, just for you.
A lovely living-room-like setting for a tasting!
(PS. I fell in LOVE with this glassware!)
How lovely is THIS piece of furniture?
Beautiful and meaningful – I wanted to open each one of these!
A fire pit on the balcony
Stunning views from the tasting room
You can see so much of Napa Valley from up here!
Pretty sure I could sit here for hours and never tire of it!
The moment we pulled in to the Carneros Inn, I felt all of the stress of home melt away. This is our very first trip away from our three small children (yikes and yay at the same time!) and I’ve been a little worried about it. Oh, but the quiet drive up to the wine country with my husband reassured me that we had done the right thing in coming here. And then seeing our accommodations at the Carneros Inn confirmed it once again. This place is a mini-paradise, y’all! I cannot recommend it more highly.
The soft muted orange and grey colors everywhere contrast beautifully with the green and every amenity imaginable is here. There’s a gorgeous gift shop, a fabulous spa area, super comfortable suites with clean design, comfy beds, luxurious bathrobes, gorgeous bathrooms with a huge tub and a waterfall shower and an ADORABLE outdoor patio complete with relaxing loungers and heat lamps. I seriously want to live here. . .
I love the aesthetic of this place!
Gorgeous vistas await at every glance.
Y’all, I even love the font! (Is that weird?!)
How fabulous is the contrast of grey, soft orange and white here? Jewelry design ideas abound!
Adorable vignettes beckon you to sit and rest awhile everywhere you look
I’ve been designing and making jewelry for fifteen years now. There are both good and bad sides to being a creative. One of the good things is that a lack of ideas is never a problem. I literally have creative ideas all day long. When I sit down to design a collection, having enough ideas has yet to be an issue. One of the bad sides of being creative, however, is that a lack of ideas is never a problem. And that can be incredibly exhausting. It can also be frustrating when you don’t have the time, energy or resources to pursue every idea. And therein lies the crucial challenge of running a creative business – being able to weed through the clutter to the very best.
My sweet little baby boy is one year old today. I’m having a really hard time believing it, since I’m fairly certain that I brought him home from the hospital as a newborn just yesterday, but alas, he’s walking (along furniture) and talking (mama is still his favorite word, thankfully!) and even attempting to ride his big brothers’ scooters (unsuccessfully, thank goodness!)
When a creative mama who adores her little one sits down to plan his first birthday party, craziness ensues. I had so many ideas that had a really hard time reigning it in. (See above note about creative problems.) We decided on a family birthday party for him since he’s just one and we’ve got two “big boy” birthday parties coming up in the next few months. I’ve been doing quite a few jewelry shows lately, so I really needed to keep it simple. (Well, simple by my standards, anyway…)
I decided on a “mustache bash” for our little man’s big celebration and it was really fun. We did a Sunday brunch (which is, by far, my favorite meal) and it was wonderful having a smaller celebration with family. And the birthday boy had an absolute ball, which was the best part. When we started singing to him, he grinned from ear to ear, and by the end of the event, he (and his seersucker birthday outfit) were completely covered in chocolate, so I consider that a huge success!
I wanted to share a few of the photos from the event with you, in case you’re looking for ideas for an upcoming little boy’s birthday party (or a cute baby shower theme.) I’m all about sharing the creativity! Have questions about any of the items you see below? Let us know in the comments. If you’d like to know more about any of the DIY decorations, let us know that, too. We love sharing ideas. And please share your birthday party ideas, too – you can never have too many in the queue for the future!
How adorable is this mustache balloon? And the giant “one” is bigger than the birthday boy!
Baby Mum-Mums are a must at any one year old party! Our children have always loved them. They’re an easy way to entertain babies who are too little to eat with you at a restaurant, but also don’t want to feel left out – or to give to a baby as you’re fixing dinner when they’re unhappy with slow service! I buy them on Amazon Prime in bulk here.
I love to bake (which may be because I enjoy the fruits of my labor!) so making a birthday cake is really fun for me. This is the “smash cake” that I made for our little man. I used the recipe from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, which is one of my absolute favorites and a must-own for anyone who loves to bake. I’ve been going to Magnolia Bakery in New York since the West Village was the only location and they’re cupcakes are still my very favorites – not to mention how adorable the place is!
Pink peonies are my absolute favorite flower and I recently found some at the grocery store down the street – yay! I’m also a huge fan of hydrangea and think that the two together are really lovely. I made a similar arrangement for a jewelry show that I had last week and got lots of compliments on it.
For the main centerpiece, I put hydrangeas and roses (always a classic combination) with snapdragons for a little pop!
I’m a big fan of puffs for the same reasons as Mum-Mums – their high entertainment value. Plus, what they lack in nutritional value, they make up for in hand-eye coordination training, right? I like this brand, which I also order on Amazon Prime because they bring it right to my doorstep with no shipping charge – which is crazy helpful for this busy mama. (If you haven’t yet tried Amazon Prime, they’re offering a free 30-day trial of the service and I’m pretty sure you’ll be hooked after that! Just click on the graphic at the bottom of this post to claim your trial.
This is the “big cake” I baked. (And it was SO yummy!)
Yay for first birthday gifts
Party favors. (Note the cute furry mustache stickers on the boys’ bags!)
I made these mustache milk bottle vases for table decorations, which
doubled as adult party favors!
I made these place holders using my new embossing tools that I found at Paper Source. After the sweet (and clearly rather smart) sales associate there made a bookmark for my oldest son when he asked what the embossing tool was as we were browsing in the store, I was hooked. I mean, how fun are these?!
The big boys using the multi-colored marbled heart-shaped crayons that I made for kids to play with during the party. (We also sent a few home in the party favor bags, too!)
When I was a young girl of just twelve years old, my father died from heart disease. The effects of this disease are far-reaching and have touched too many dear friends of mine, both young and old, to count. This is a cause that is very near to my heart and I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of helping to raise money for The American Heart Association in this event. Please join us in Houston for a fabulous night of cocktails, light bites and shopping with heart. . .
My hubs is a wine dude. When we were dating, I was continually impressed by his knowledge of wine. On each date, he would order a wine and it was always delicious. Come to think of it, throughout the time I’ve known him, I’m not sure he’s ever ordered a bad wine for me. In fact, he usually orders a glass each of two different wines and lets me taste each and chose the one I like best. He says that’s a fun challenge for him and ensures he orders two really good wines. Is he a treasure or what?
With a man like him comes a decent-sized (and quality!) wine collection. I consider that a huge plus, but it does come with a few challenges, too. (more…)