things we love

See Me

See Me

This year, our children’s school has committed to being a part of +Works (pronounced Positive Thinking Works). I went to a meeting introducing it a few weeks ago and I was blown away. In fact, I’m still processing much of what was said. There are several schools that are joining in this movement and I couldn’t be more excited that our school is among them. The women who started this initiative are two experienced moms (and friends) Sarah Fisher and Trish Morille. As I listened to Sarah speak, I realized how desperately our society needs this thinking. In tumultuous times like this, we need so much more of this and the very best place to start is with the current generation of children. As we learn alongside them and strive to model this type of life for them, our world cannot help but be changed for the better.

Today, our school sent out the following poem from +Works. It struck me to my core as I read it. Tears filled my eyes and my heart was deeply convicted by these words. I thought you might be as well, so I wanted to share them with you. We all need to read this. Multiple times.

Again, these words are not my own, but I did want to share them with you because they are so important. For more resources like this, which I have found very helpful in my parenting journey!) or for information on their movement, please visit their website here or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

SEE ME
I am your child.
I am your student.
I am your husband.
I am your wife.
I am your brother, your sister.
Your mother, your father.
Your friend.
Your neighbor.
I am a human being doing my best.
And I need you to see me as I am.

I need you to SEE me as I AM.

I need you to allow me to be myself with you.
I want to tell you my truth.
Can you hear me?
I am screaming at you with my eyes wide and my mouth shut.
I need you to give me the gift that comes in a simple card that reads:
You are not me.
You are you.
And I love you.
As you are.

I need you to tell me this to my face:
I love you even when and especially when you don’t agree with me because we have so much to learn from each other on this journey.

What is that so hard?
What are you afraid of?
Why do you tell me not to feel what I’m felling when I’m feeling it?
Why do you tell me to believe what you believe when I am still searching?
Why do you dream for me when I have my own dreams?
Why do you think you get to choose whom I will become?

Please know this.
Just because you are older or smarter or richer or poorer or ____er does not make you wiser.
I have seen wisdom spring from unexpected people and unexpected places.
Like youth.
And inexperience.
And silence.
Especially when that silence is imposed.

Please. It is awful not to feel loved.
Hear my voice.
See my face.
Feel my pain.
Set me free.

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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!

Shoe Love

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I’ve been getting tons of compliments on these cutout ankle booties, so I just had to share them with y’all.

These little gems are super cute. I’ve been wearing them with cropped jeans, shorts and even skirts and getting loads of compliments on them. The cutouts ensure they aren’t too hot for Summer and the short heels ensure they’re super comfortable. (That’s a must for me these days, chasing three little boys around. I have to be quick on my feet!)

To make your shopping life easier, I’ve linked to a few spots where you can grab a pair here. They come in lots of colors and I’m seriously considering adding this cool black suede pair with white stitching. Love!

How would you style these booties? Tell us in the comments below. We love shared style tips!

Comfy + Cute = Fav Kicks

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As a blogger, I’ve made an implied promise to you to share when I find things that I absolutely LOVE. I find that I tend to like things that my friends like and in this cluttered world of constant noise, I rely even more heavily on recommendations for my friends. It saves me time and money to learn from others. And since I consider you a friend if you’re reading my blog, I want to share things that might help you as well. If you want to read more of my recommendations, look no further than the Things We Love tab (under the yellow heart) in my blog header.

Today, I want to share with you these shoes that are both crazy cute and crazy comfy!  I saw them on someone running out and about in Houston recently and at first glance, I just knew they were Cole Haans. I’ve loved the Cole Haan/Nike Air collaboration for a long time now and I figured that’s what these were. As it turns out, they’re actually a new line by Cole Haan called ZeroGrand, but the premise is the same. Super cushiony comfort combined with the quality and style we all love from Cole Haan. As a mama of three boys aged five and under who owns her own business, I’m pretty much always on the go, so this combination is key for me. I’m certain you can relate!

I debated over the silver and coral pair or the python ones and ultimately kept the python because I felt like they would go with more. When I returned the silver ones to the Cole Haan store, I saw that they also come in black. If they were a little less expensive, I would have two pair in a heartbeat, so I’ll just have to stalk them for a sale!

I’ve been wearing these for a few weeks now and am in love with them. They’re cushiony and comfortable and look equally good  with jeans and a top heading to dinner or with workout gear as we walk to the little league fields. And I just love the asymmetrical slant on the tops of them. It’s very flattering. All in all, I highly recommend you try them out! They’re not inexpensive, but from a price per wear perspective, they’re definitely a good purchase for me. Oh, and I wear a size 9 and I find these run true to size, in case that helps you in ordering.

What are your favorite shoes that are super comfortable but polished enough to go beyond yoga pants? I’m always looking and would love to know, so tell us in the comments below…

 

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!

New Kicks

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I recently got some new kicks and I am loving them! I’ve always found it hard to find black tennis shoes that I like that work well for casual wear. I love the fact that these are a mix of suede and a textured leather. The contrast adds interest and gives them a hip look that I think goes well with both yoga pants (my uniform of late) and jeans (when I want to look a little more put together without actually doing much more work!)

These Nikes are comfortable and cute, which is a huge win in my book. And they’re not too bulky, so they don’t give a “running shoe” look, which I like for a slightly more pulled-together style while running about town. And they are perfect for wearing when you’re chasing littles around the yard or playground. If you’d like to check them out, you can find them here. I highly recommend them!

Happy Love Day!

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Happy Valentine’s Day, lovelies! On this day of love, I pray that you are surrounded by those you love and hold dear in this life. If this isn’t you this year – if you’re in a time of loss or pain or struggle, I am praying for you as well. And I’m sending you my very favorite Valentine’s Day quote. Wise words from (my former pastor and a favorite author) Max Lucado

 

“I hope you receive a rose or a special card from that special person today. If you didn’t and don’t expect to, remember that the One who loves you most has already sent you His very best.”

                                                                  – Max Lucado

 

Introducing Our Carneros Collection

Carneros Collection

 

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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Oceans Eight Bracelet in Grey, Peach and White MoonstoneE7121-PYR_blog

Oakville Earrings in Pyrite

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Yountville Necklace in Labradorite and Carnelian

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Petaluma Earrings in Labradorite, Carnelian and PyriteN7845-BN&TQ_blogAsheville Tassel Necklace in Bone, Pyrite and Turquoise

Trick or Treat!

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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!

 

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The Judgment of Paris

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In 1976, Chateau Montelena shocked the world when their 1973 Chardonnay was rated above all other wines during a grand tasting, which has now come to be known as the “Judgment of Paris.” At a time when French wines reigned supreme, this stunning win helped to put California on the map in the world of wine. In the 2008 movie, Bottle Shock, beautifully tells this true story and is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys wine.

If you get the chance to visit the California Wine Country, a visit to Chateau Montelena is well worth your time. The grounds are absolutely stunning (and if you’re a wine club member, you can use their lovely Jade Lake for picnics!) and the wine is equally fine. Their Chardonnay is, of course, most famous, but all of their offerings are delicious, so don’t miss the rest. If you’re in San Francisco, but not able to make it North to taste, pop into the Westin St. Francis in Union Square, where Chateau Montelena maintains a small tasting room in the city within the hotel.

Inspired by the deep golden-yellow color of a glass of crisp Chardonnay, our Bottle Shock collection features rich golden tones that are both warm and mellow at the same time. Yellow and brown sapphires, rudilated quartz, gorgeous sunstone, sparkling silverite, champagne-colored mystic topaz and natural and white bone are all featured in this collection, which has a hip, but effortlessly chic vibe. Like a cool glass of white wine on a warm Indian Summer day, this collection brings good feelings with it as it illuminates your skin.

In the spirit of small companies with a big dream making a big splash in the world (and in Chateau Montelena’s case, changing the course of history!) take a moment to check out our new collection and learn a little more about what makes Andrea Montgomery Designs different. We are small by design, choosing to craft our pieces out of quality materials right here in Texas.

So, grab a glass of wine, get comfy and click here to peruse our newest collection for Fall (that will transition beautifully into Spring as well!)

Bottle Shock Photos

 

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