things we love

Beer ‘Ritas Recipe

Blog-6612

 

When you’re throwing a Cinco de Mayo party and don’t have time to test and sample margarita recipes for the best one, you ask a few of your most “in the know” friends for a recommendation. And when you’re friend’s eyes light up and they say – ask Nancy Jane – she has an amazing recipe for Beer ‘Ritas – you do it. NJ did not disappoint. I cannot even believe how delicious these were. You’ve absolutely got to try them! (Sidenote, Nancy Jane is quite possibly the sweetest realtor in Houston. If you’re looking for a house, she can help you out – with patience, kindness and a bright smile. She’s wonderful!)

Everyone loved these at our party tonight (more fiesta details on the blog tomorrow!) So, without further adieu, here it is.  Enjoy!

RECIPE:

1 mexican beer (just pick your favorite kind)
1 can minute maid limeaid
1 can of good quality tequila (just fill the limeade can) – we used Tierra Fertile, which was recommended by the guy at Spec’s
1 can of Fresca

Mix & serve over ice! Serves probably 8-10 smallish margaritas, perfect for a party.

 

 

Share+

Men’s Style: A Great Gift Idea

IMG_1558

I always have a hard time thinking of good gift ideas for my husband. He’s a tough guy to shop for, not because he is picky or doesn’t usually like what I get him, but because he’s a man who doesn’t need much. He rarely asks for things, but he is a guy who really appreciates good craftsmanship, so when I can find something that is really well made, I know I’ve found something he will likely love. Whether it is a handmade pair of cowboy boots, a custom made button down shirt or a piece of jewelry that I handmade for him, I know he appreciates solid craftsmanship and good design.

As soon as he opened the gorgeous wooden box of his JORD men’s watch, I saw that smile that let me know I had chosen well. The grain of the dark sandalwood glimmered in the sunlight and contrasted beautifully with the burgundy face. He carefully took it out of the box and examined it closely and proclaimed it a win – he loved it! Neither of us had ever seen a wooden watch before, so I love that it is a unique watch style. In person, it is so, so beautiful. You can instantly tell that it is carefully crafted and I love the earthy feel of the wood and it’s just plain stylish!

Since he got it, hubs has worn it with casual clothes and dressy ones and it looks great with each. He’s gotten lots of compliments on this cool watch and people are thrilled to know that is also has a great price point. I have a feeling he’s going to be wearing it a lot this Spring (and I have a feeling I may be swiping it from him to wear myself!)

If you’re in the market for a great gift idea for the man in your life, I highly recommend you checking out the line of lovely wooden watches Jord has for men here. Jord also has gorgeous women’s watches as well. I personally LOVE the Frankie line of women’s watches. I love the oversized look and the face is so clean and pretty.

Are you loving these wooden watches as much as I am? Good news! JORD is doing a fun giveaway for my readers. All you have to do is click on this link and enter your name and email address. The winner will receive a $100 E Gift Code. All entrants receive a $25 E Gift Code, so everyone is a winner! The contest will close April 2nd at 11:59pm. The $100 and $25 Gift Codes will expire June 30th, 2017.

So, hop on over to their website here and enter to win. And let me know in the comments below what you think of hub’s new watch!

 

IMG_1566

Gorgeous, right out of the box!

 

IMG_1520

Love the way this dark brown contrasts with navy and white!

 

IMG_1554

And the burgundy face is so elegant! I love the way the watch looks with this sterling silver and 14k gold ring I made him!

 

IMG_1534

The watch looks just as good fancy! Shown here with his custom-made Andrea Montgomery Designs cufflinks.

 

IMG_1562

And, it looks good celebrating with a glass of vino!

 

Watch Gift Ideas

Mutton Bustin’

IMG_1689

If you’re not from Houston, my guess is that the term Mutton Bustin’ is new to you. If you know what it is, however, my guess is the term brings a smile to your face every single time you hear it. It has always been one of my favorite events to watch at the Houston Rodeo and this year, for the first time, my own son got to participate. And it was a blast!

Bull riding is always the main event of the rodeo, but for junior rodeo types, sheep riding is the thing, and down here, we call that Mutton Bustin’. And its a VERY big deal. Kids sign up to compete in the main arena at the Houston Rodeo over six months in advance and they are the last event of the rodeo, going on just before the entertainment as they’re setting up the stage for the singer of the evening. Over at the rodeo carnival, however, those of us who didn’t plan that far in advance still get a chance to try and tame those wooly beasts. Here are the details for your mini cowboy or girl…

Participants must be five or six years old and weigh between 35 and 55 pounds. Mutton Bustin’ is done every hour (on the hour) starting at 11am and signup begins an hour before each competition. The carnival opens at 10am, so if you show up right at 10am (or a few minutes before), you’re likely to get a spot in the 11am slot. We showed up at 10.15am and were 3 people too far back, so we stayed put and waited in line for the 11am signup for the noon competition. They weigh your child, you fill out a form (including listing the child’s favorite rodeo food, favorite event and what they want to be when they grown up, which is always fun to hear the announcer read out as each child comes up), then you sign a waiver of liability, pay $15 (and order a DVD for an additional $15 if you so chose) and you head to the carnival to play some games and ride some rides until 20 minutes before your showtime.

When you come back, you suit up, wait your turn and head into the arena…on the back of a sheep! It is so much fun to watch these little ones hold on tight to the back of a sheep for the ride of their (very young) lives. The goal is to make it all the way across the arena and one little girl did it! She was the winner of our hour and got an adorable belt buckle to celebrate her title. Our little guy started off a little too far back on the sheep (maybe we needed a reride?!) but he did great anyway and made it a little over halfway across the arena. He had no injuries and had a blast, so I’m going to call that a big win for us!

If your little guy has been begging you as much as mine has to let him do it, I would definitely invest the time and effort to head on down to the rodeo and give Mutton Bustin’ a go. You can scroll down for a highlight reel of our experience. We all had an absolute blast and little brother is already counting the days until he’s old enough to do it next year!

 

IMG_1609

The Mutton Bustin’ Committee was filled with super nice and super helpful people who made the process easy and fun.

 

IMG_1692

 

IMG_1690

Waiting our turn.

 

IMG_1702

Gathering the sheep.

 
IMG_1697

Reading the fine print.

 
IMG_1701

All suited up.

 

IMG_1648

Hi, mom!

 
IMG_1704

Next in line.

 

IMG_1708

Our turn!

 

IMG_1715

…And he’s off!

 

IMG_1649

Hanging on tight!

 

IMG_1717

#Ouch

 

IMG_1723

All worth it for a blue ribbon!

 

Pretty Letters

andrea

On a recent Friday morning, I was treated to a lovely chalkboard lettering class with Kristara along with some darling blogger friends. Her Houston calligraphy studio is located in an gorgeous building filled with inspiring businesses on Spring Street. Just walking in, you are sure to feel more creative! And her space is just adorable – filled with sweet little touches that make you feel right at home (if you live in a home filled with well-curated lovelies, that is!) Her walls are adorned with her incredible work, like the adorbs invitations pictured below, and I was immediately smitten. If you’ve been to the Lululemon store in Highland Village here in Houston, you’ve likely seen her work, as she does the art on their chalkboards. And for daily doses of her beautiful lettering, follow her on Instagram here.

lovely lettering

As we walked in, she offered us coffees, mimosas and sweet treats. It was a definite blessing for this mama after a harried morning of trying to get the littles to school on time. After some gabbing and catching up with friends (and commiserating that getting up this morning was super hard after a late evening out at the A Couture Cause event the night before!) we sat down at a pristine white table that was accented with simple, yet beautiful flowers, chalk and chalkboards with each of our names on them. Tres chic!

To begin with, Kristara is incredibly sweet, very patient and totally relatable, which makes the class super fun. First, she went over some lettering styles and examples with us. She demonstrated tricks and tips and also gave us a handout with the information so that we could focus on having fun and experimenting during the class. I love the “But first, coffee” design she did below. (Please note the artsy photo my darling friend Candace took of me taking a photo of the chalkboard!)

but first coffee

After the examples, we went to work creating. We started out with chalk and in the end, those who wanted to make their designs more permanent used a chalk marker (which is still removable) to make the chalk art last longer. I practiced a few things, but erased them before I took photos, much to the dismay of my table mate, the always-adorable style blogger, my friend Carly, who thought they were way better than they actually were. (Must have been the mimosas talking!) Turns out, I’m more of a perfectionist than I thought and chalkboard lettering is harder than I thought! It sure was fun, though, and I’m excited to practice more at home on the chalkboards she gave us!

Kristara does hand-lettering, so you can hire her to address your next batch of party invitations for a beautiful touch. She also teaches calligraphy and brush lettering as well, so no matter what your style is, you’re sure to find something to inspire you in her class list. I cannot recommend her classes highly enough – especially if you go with a friend (or several.) You are sure to have fun indulging your creative side in her precious studio!

 

Winter Wreath Workshop

File+Jan+05

 

How gorgeous is this wreath that my sweet friend, Nicole Burke, of Rooted Garden made? I’m absolutely in love with it! The eucalyptus, the dried oranges. It’s simple and lovely and the best part is that she says it preserves beautifully, so it can be used for a long time to come!

Nicole is the powerhouse woman and mother of four who has helped me grow actual vegetables in my backyard that I actually eat. It’s amazing! (Get the full scoop on my blog post here.) And now, she’s branched out (see what I did there?) into wreath-making. And she’s offering her first class on it next Thursday evening from 6.30 to 8pm at El Paso Imports in Rice Village here in Houston. We’ll enjoy garden-inspired food and drinks and have some wonderful girl time laughing together. AND, we get to bring home the beautiful wreath above that we’re going to learn to make. How fun is that?

I would LOVE for you to join me at the class. For more information, check out the flier below and to register, visit the website here.

Winter Wreath Workshop Flier

 

50 Designers. 50% Off. One Location.

bfc8ea_6171e76d92c14c319dc10ed920431ba9mv2

It’s that time of year again! This year marks the third annual The Sale Houston event, which proudly features the finest area boutiques offering end of season merchandise at dramatically reduced pricing in one location. And, trust me, this is one shopping event you do NOT want to miss!

screenshot-2017-01-04-23-16-00

I’ll be there with jewelry items at 50% off again this year. If you know my brand well, you know that I don’t often have sales. The real reason for that is that I’m a small business and I produce limited quantities of my designs by hand, so I’m honestly not left with huge amounts of inventory to get rid of. The Sale, however, is one of those sales, so if you’ve been wanting some of my pieces, but were waiting for a good deal – this is it!

Not only do I love selling at this show (because everyone is so nice and scoring good deals puts everyone in a great mood!) but I love buying for myself at this show! The event takes place at the Bayou City Event Center, which is a really wonderful spot. It’s very nice, super clean, has free parking and is big enough to hold 50 boutiques, but not so huge that its overwhelming. In past years, I’ve scored $200 Elaine Turner clutches for $10, gorgeous scarves from A Bientot for $8, shoes and clothes from Monkees and Tootsies for 50% or more off, a gorgeous tote from A Bientot for 50% off, a fur stole from Cheeky Vintage at a steal, a Louis Vuitton speedy purse from Cheeky Vintage for under $200 and so much more! (For a full list of this year’s participating boutiques, click here.

The early bird shopping is from 10am to noon on Saturday and a ticket to that is $150, but you do get the best selection, along with champagne while you shop and light bites. After that, the tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door and the money raised by this event goes to pediatric cancer research at Texas Children’s Cancer Center, so you can feel good about the ticket money going to a very worthy cause.

The first year that I participated as a vendor at The Sale was the very first year they had it and I sold out of 2/3 of my merchandise within the first two hours. These ladies come ready to shop! And there are amazing deals to be had ALL weekend long. So, make plans to grab a friend and cure those post-holiday blues with some fun shopping with amazing deals that benefit a wonderful cause.

See you this weekend!

Shoe Sale!

saltare

I recently purchased the Saltare flats in the versatile Luggage color (above) and I have to say that I love them! I have purchased several pair of M.Gemi shoes over the past year and a half since I found out about them and I’ve yet to be disappointed. And, in good news for you, my flats above and loads of other styles, from flats to over-the-knee boots (and plenty for men as well) are on sale as of today!

Their sales only happen twice a year and all of the shoes they produce at M.Gemi are small batch production and limited edition, so don’t hesitate. Hop on over there today and check out all of the fabulous shoes on sale!

If you haven’t heard of M.Gemi before, check out my blog post about them here. I’m a big fan. And, when you use the links in this post to shop, you’ll get a $25 credit to shop at M.Gemi as well. Yay!

 

My Rooted Garden

IMG_8002

 

How beautiful are those greens?! Swiss chard, arugula, dinosaur kale and banana peppers abound in my garden right now and I am so excited to make a salad with them tonight! Curious about how this all started? Read on, dear one.

I first met Nicole Burke of Rooted Garden when I inherited a garden at the home we moved into over this past Summer. Nicole had started the garden and in the lovely, temperate climate that is July in Houston (please note the sarcasm here), I was tasked with learning about what she had done and how to maintain it. Honestly, gardening is one of those things that I have always romanticized (likely because my mom did it when I was a little girl) and wanted to learn more about, but never really had the time. I always sort of figured I’d learn to do it when I got older and my kids were grown. Isn’t that what Southern women do? (Note: There’s a strong possibility that Ouiser cemented this idea in my head. If you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, check out the graphic I made below to bring you up to speed and then, for the love of laughter, curl up with Netflix and watch Steel Magnolias ASAP. It is one of my very most oft-quoted movies ever!)

 

OuiserQuote

 

Anyway, back to my darling friend Nicole. She has coached me through six months of gardening now and, while I have not learned nearly enough about gardening yet (which is no reflection on her, but more a result of the fact that my retention for things is severely diminished at this stage in my life) I have learned some valuable takeaways for life…

  • It’s never too late to learn new things, so quit putting off what you really want to do if a lack of knowledge is all that’s holding you back. Grab a book or find a friend who is an expert and learn alongside them.
  • Pruning (cutting back) is required for growth. (Ouch, there’s one I need to reflect on more!)
  • Your garden requires daily (or at least semi-weekly) maintenance. Just like anything important in life, truly investing in something requires being present and taking action. We are far too quick to automate things these days and let them go.
  • Kids love digging in dirt and get a HUGE thrill out of picking fruit and veggies they’ve helped to maintain. (Here’s hoping they start getting that same thrill out of eating them!) Our children today need more time outdoors. That’s a simple fact. Growing a garden together gives you a task at hand to focus on together and heaven knows we need more of that in my family! It’s a bonding experience AND its lots of fun.

In case you’re debating undertaking a garden project, let me encourage you to give it a try. Even if you don’t have a green thumb (I’m positive mine is black!) you can do it. Will you grow prize-winning vegetables? Likely not. But, will you relish the food that you eat that you have grown yourself in your backyard? I’m pretty sure you will! There is something so grounding and inspiring about eating something you’ve planted and cared for and grown and reaped. And, bonus – it’s organic! Well, unless you spray your garden with scary pesticides, in which case – yuk! And, at the very least, you’ll have some lovely landscaping in the process.

So, if you’re in the Houston area, check out Rooted Garden. Nicole can do as much or as little as you like. She can offer a consult on what you should plant and tips on how to care for it or she can take your existing “blah” space and turn it into a gorgeous urban edible landscape and then she can come back and care for it and then deliver the fruits of your (her) labor right to your door for you. If you do want to get out there and garden next to her, you’re sure to learn something and have a lot of fun in the process as well! If you’re not in the Houston area, Nicole offers virtual consults as well, so don’t let that stop you! And if you’re just interested in a dabble, follow her on Instagram. Her feed is lovely!

 

Shop Local

how-to-shop-small-for-the-holidays-local-gift-guide-header

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!

 

how-to-shop-small-for-the-holidays-local-gift-guide-1

 

A Southern Lawn Party

blog-0545

For our son’s birthday party this year, we wanted to do something a little different. I really like including the entire family (siblings as well) when we can, because it’s always so much more fun when you don’t have to split up your family on the weekends to attend birthday parties. Of course, not every venue works for that, so we decided to have this one at home.

What we ended up deciding on is a Southern Lawn Party theme. We set out tons of lawn games and had classic Southern fare and cocktails outside while the kids played and ran in the grass. We had corn hole, bocce ball, croquet, ladder ball, giant Jenga and a huge game of Connect Four. We even made a life-sized Angry Birds game, which was the hit of the party. Thank goodness for my sweet husband who is always up for the task of making my crazy ideas come to life! To pull this off, he made a giant slingshot using this launcher and attached it to steel pipe he purchased at Home Depot. I hand-painted red and yellow kickballs to look like Angry Birds and used these green balloons to make little piggies that the kids could knock down from the boxes we had saved (from ordering all of those supplies on Amazon!) which we spray painted to look more like bricks holding the pigs.

I’d been praying for good weather since we sent the invitations and man, did God show off! This week, the temps in Houston dipped and the humidity as well. It was absolutely gorgeous. Demeris catered the food and brought their always-amazing BBQ, chicken and sausage along with delicious potato salad and beans with chicken fingers and mac n’ cheese for the littles. We ordered our birthday cake from Moeller’s Bakery, which is our go-to for a cake that’s both beautiful and delicious. My sweet friend Anne Letzerich owns Muddy’s Garden and did the flowers for me. Are they not just exquisite? She heard my vision for an outdoor event with Southern elegance and ran with it!

Below are a few pics from our big celebration. I would love to hear your thoughts. Have any questions about where we got something? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll gladly answer!

 

blog-0298

 

blog-0337

blog-0133

Table decorations (I love these striped napkins! Got them here.

blog-0129

 

blog-0216

Demeris Catering did not disappoint!

 

blog-0353

 

blog-0521

Gorgeous flowers by Muddy’s Garden

 

blog-0352

 

blog-0342

How adorable is our cake from Moeller’s Bakery? Yum!

blog-0340

 

blog-0324

Who doesn’t love a game of corn hole?

blog-0161

Connect Four is even more fun when it is giant!

blog-0159

blog-0235

I hand-painted kickballs to look like Angry Birds!

blog-0269

And we made pigs to knock down out of green balloons…

blog-0167

…and saved up shipping boxes for a month to make the bricks holding the pigs.

blog-0391

The life-sized Angry Birds game was a huge hit!

blog-0263

 

blog-0304

Giant Jenga was also a blast



blog-0163

Toys with wheels never disappoint!



blog-0204

All in all, it was one fun party!