During my River Walk Duchess Coronation in February (pre Covid Era) I was given the opportunity to start wearing my great great grandmother’s nearly 200 year old necklace made of gold, 5 diamonds, and 7 amethysts. I thought it would be amazing to be able to wear some of my family’s antique jewelry as my own ‘royal jewels’.
As much as I love this family heirloom necklace I am paranoid while wearing it. I had it secured to my top with multiple safety pins and neurotics checked it every two second to make sure it was still on my neck.
I knew if I lost it that my grandmother and my mother would both (justifiably) kill me.
I decided that I wanted to find another necklace that captured the spirit of the necklace but wouldn’t make me as crazy and that maybe was even a little more ‘me’ that my family necklace is.
I stumbled upon this beautiful sterling silver, gold plated, amethyst and freshwater pearl necklace (y’all know how I LOVE pearls!) from Ross Simons that conveniently was also under $100!
I think this necklace perfectly captures the spirit of my great grandmothers antique necklace but with a more bohemian kind of feel which is definitely me!
I like that I’m able to start collecting some pieces which can add to things that I can pass down in the future and start creating some other family heirlooms (see my previous post on starting to create heirlooms).
I think both of these amethyst necklaces can happily coexist in my jewelry collection and be lovely amethyst sisters together!
When picking out holiday gifts for friends and family, I got to thinking about family heirlooms and their importance in my families legacy, as well as the joy those heirloom items bring to me this time of year. When you bring out a silver ornament or a special pair of earrings, you start talking about you bought it our who gave it to whom and how long it has been in the family. During the holidays I also bring out a pair of earrings that are over 120 years old that were my 2x great grandmothers. I got to thinking… what heirlooms am I creating for my future 2x great-grandchildren to remember me by?
I have been lucky enough to inherit a few pieces to pass down and I had a few quality pieces of jewelry but most of what I had was costly costume jewelry that was certainly never going to last a lifetime. As I’ve gotten older (and hopefully a little wiser) I’ve started to invest more into quality jewelry pieces that will stand the test of time.
I realized that while I had not collected many pieces that I felt really told a story about who I am and about things I have done. I decided it was time to start investing in my legacy and my future family by collecting quality pieces to pass down to my future family members.
I partnered with James Avery to show y’all some items that I think make wonderful heirloom pieces that I have personally added to my collection and also give you a chance to win a $150 James Avery gift card to start adding to your own heirloom collection!
4 Heirloom Pieces to add to your collection:
1. Charm Bracelet
Charm bracelets have been around for centuries. Early Babylonians around 600 BC! But Queen Victoria really popularised the charm bracelet including mourning charms after her beloved husband passed away.
Charm Bracelets tell a story and that story can be shared and passed down in a tangible and meaningful way.
My James Avery charm bracelet story started off with the San Antonio Tricentennial bracelet that I purchased for my birthday and added on some iconic Texas charms onto it ie. Whataburger and the super adorable FIESTA Pinata charm! I recently included a few more charms to my bracelet’s story, the Taco charm (foodie life duh!) and the beautiful new Bell Charm from the new 2019 Holiday Collection.
This beautiful Bell Charm (Love Song Charm) actually does ring and there is nothing quite so pleasant as the sound a ringing silver bell.
This particular charm is darling and not just for its lovely name ( the Love Song Charm) holds a few meanings for me:
-My Dad is a Real Bearded Santa and having a subtle nod to Christmas is something really lovely to have on all the time.
– The bell represents the beautiful missions in San Antonio and the beautiful 5 bell display along the San Antonio River Walk. And since I’m River Walk Royalty for 2020 I felt it was perfect to add onto my bracelet that tells my Texas story.
2. Claddagh Ring
The next piece I invested in was a Claddagh.
The Claddagh Ring is a very old Irish traditional ring that has been around for hundreds of years and having one to pass down is extremely important to me. The James Avery Claddagh ring is a classic piece but still with beautiful modern lines that is something that will be passed down to future generations of my strawberry blond and red headed future Irish family.
3. Silver Ornaments
There’s nothing like setting up your tree to really get you into the Christmas spirit. Part of the fun of putting up the Christmas tree is pulling out old ornaments and saying “remember this one this is from grandma” or “we got this when we visited” etc. sharing those stories are so important for ensuring that families continue to pass down important family memories. Having silver ornaments not only look beautiful on the tree but also ensure that those precious family memories don’t accidentally break due to a furry family members tail or some other calamity.
4. Subtle Statement Earring
My last heirloom recommendation is a pair of subtle statement earrings.
This pair has an elegant quatrefoil style ( very reminiscent of the San Antonio quatrefoil) that easily transition from daytime at the office to an evening affair. They are light and delicate but still sturdy and will easily stand the test of time both in changing the fashion trends and also being passed down from person to person. I cannot wait to tell my (currently nonexistent) future grandchildren how I wore these earrings during my reign on the 2020 River Walk Royalty Court!
Quality jewelry of precious metals like silver and gold are one of the few things that are able to be passed down from generation to generation because those items LAST. The $10 pair of costume jewelry earrings won’t last you until your granddaughters 16th birthday, but a pair of silver, gold, or gemstone earrings or a charm bracelet, now that will last generations past your lifetime. If you start curating your collection now, you will have a wonderful collection to pass down to your future great grandchildren.
For a chance to win a $150 James Avery gift card to start building your own heirloom collection follow me on Instagram and enter my giveaway (Closes 12/22)!
I have lived in the Greater San Antonio Area for nearly a decade and upon moving here the River Walk was one of the first places I went to start my exploration of San Antonio and this blog. Besides my personal nostalgia, many of you know that philanthropy and giving back is very important to me. I work for a local nonprofit and dedicate a great deal outside of my job to various nonprofits in the San Antonio area as well. Many of the different populations that I work are military and also low income; being able to attend the free events that are put on by the San Antonio Riverwalk Association aren’t just a fun casual day out, but a huge memorable event for those families because they are something that is accessible both in cost and location. Keeping the programing at the River Walk free for the community is something that means the entire population can participate.
Being able to help raise money for the incredible programs that are on the Riverwalk that help protect the legacy and history of this amazing city is SO important, and I am honored to be able to bring attention to the incredible programs that are put on by the San Antonio River Walk Association for the San Antonio community, like the Armed Forces River Parade and the Ford Holiday River Parade. The River Walk is vein of the city, connecting the Alamo and all of the important historical monuments to the businesses and attractions of the downtown district. It is so important to me that the history of the city be protected, and that the parades and celebrations continue to bring visitors so that our city can continue to thrive.
I would be beyond grateful for your generosity in assisting me. Following are a few ways that you or your business can help my royalty campaign:
Local Business Sponsorship:
For businesses that wish to become a donor to my campaign I am offering several sponsor levels for both small & large businesses that provide you with advertisement opportunities across my blog and social media platforms of over 20,000 followers. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for sponsor levels, donation form, and additional details.
Donate Services or Items:
Donate an item, experience, or service to my silent auction/ raffle! These items can be simple like gift cards, tickets, staycations, or any professional services. If you would like to donate a raffle item, please email me for a donation form email@example.com.
Individual Monetary Donation:
Any amount you can donate is so greatly appreciated! You can donate directly to my royalty campaign by CLICKING HERE and select my name!
I am so humbled and excited to be part of the San Antonio River Walk Royal Court and giving back to a city I love so dearly by working with the San Antonio River Walk Association which serves to promote, protect and preserve the Crown Jewel of our city, the Riverwalk. I hope that participating in the River Walk Royalty program will help bring much needed attention and funding to sustain the beautiful Riverwalk and keep its historical legacy alive for generations to come.
“Once upon a time, the “Crown Jewel” of San Antonio, known as the River Walk, had its’ magical water drained every year for a week. The citizens and visitors became sad that their beautiful river contained only mud. To bring joy to the good people, the citizens appointed a Mud King and Queen every year for the week of mud. The king and queen, in turn, raised money which was used to provide mirth and merriment along the River Walk once it was refilled. All rejoiced! Through the years the river was drained less often and the tradition of Mud King and Queen ended. In the year 2010, the tradition was happily replaced with a court of River Walk Royalty who still rule today, bringing joy to all.
Since 1987 River Walk Royalty began serving for a full calendar year. Throughout their reign, they serve as ambassadors for the San Antonio River Walk Association sharing in the mission to promote, protect, and preserve the San Antonio River Walk. Each year four King and four Queen Candidates work to raise money for the many free River Walk events organized annually by the San Antonio River Walk Association. Nominees are announced in September and are given seven months to fundraise for their “position” on the royal court. Titles are awarded in the order of who raises the most money. King and Queen, Prince and Princess, Duke and Duchess, Count and Countess. A Royal Coronation ceremony occurs in April.
Royalty are responsible for making appearances at not only River Walk events but various other occasions throughout the city. Royalty campaigns are one of the largest fundraising activities for the association. Not only is being a River Walk royal a great honor, it is a responsibility. One must perfect the royal wave, ride in countless parades, and look great wearing a crown.” – San Antonio Riverwalk Association
I chose to use an amazing photo of me from a recent photo session with a local Boerne photographer, Kate, for my card photo.
Once I had my fabulous glamour shot selected; I simply edited the text, changed some colors, and the front of my card was complete!
The coolest part about the whole process, is that Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. Basic Invite even offers recipient address printing at no cost on all Christmas card orders!
The great part about Basic Invite’s cards is that you can add in some really unique options to make your card stand out. The the backs of Basic Invite’s cards are totally unique and offer fun ways to put the hi-lights of your year together for friends and family.
I really love the adorable holiday ornament options to give quick easily digestible memorable moments from your year!
There is even an option to customize the interior of your envelopes for a really personal touch.
I chose my signature yellow with my initials for a fun pop of non traditional color for my envelope. There are over 40 different colors to choose from so you can fine something unique to you!
I can’t wait to send out my Christmas cards this season! If you’re looking to stand out this holiday season check out Basic Invite and use Coupon Code: holi30 to get 30% off your order and start sharing those memories right away!
And of course I will be sending Santa a card as well with my list…hopefully he will check it twice!
This gorgeous necklace sent to me from Grace and Charm, is the perfect accessory for the Summer Solstice. It is a gold fill chain and natural amazonite stones. It reminds me of those beautiful rough cut pillars at Stonehenge.
The Summer Solstice is also World Giraffe Day! The longest necked mammals celebration is on the longest day of the year!
We all know there are multiple types of blogger genres, fashion, beauty, lifestyle, food, family, etc. But there are a few items that no matter what the blog focus is, there are universally useful items to any genre of blogger.
If you have been racking your brain trying to figure out what to buy the blogger in your life with only a short time left to shop, or are looking to pick up something for yourself, here are the 7 things that I think any blogger would like to find under their tree or in their stocking this year:
For the blogger who is a planner nerd or that needs a written calendar to get things done this is a great gift. This planner helps lay out what content you want to put out and really helps if your are trying to get on a posting schedule.
This is a great tool for the iPhone Instagramer or Blogger. Having the ability to up your game before you make the leap to a DSLR, or for when you want to leave the big girl camera at home, really helps to diversify your photos.
I was introduced to theses by beauty blogger MegO on her blog gift guide. I’ve been using THIS pair for several days now and I have noticed an IMMEDIATE improvement in my workday. I haven’t had a headache in over a week! I know that may sound strange to some but for a frequent migraine sufferer this is HUGE!!! I highly recommend them to anyone who spends a lot of time in front of a computer or phone screen!
I recently discovered the usefulness of these lights and have been hooked on them for taking photos ever since. It is a great product if you want to be able to take better quality photos in areas with limited lighting with your iPhone.
I featured this product in my 2016 Gift Guide and it is back again this year! I use this regularly and it is one of those items that is always in my bag no matter what. The great part about this hot spot is that you can do a monthly subscription or just a one time purchase of data so you’re not tied down if you don’t want to be.
Click HERE to get $10 off your purchase of a Karma Go!
This is a gift that any type of blogger or Instagramer will appreciate. There is such a wide variety of items to choose from of this site that range from website templates, animations for your Instagram story, Snapchat filters, themes, fonts, banding mockups, and other add ons that will all bring amazing enhancement possibilities for the various means of messaging your blogger has.
It is summer time in Texas. While that does mean summer fun, it can also mean melted makeup and humidity to boot. What’s a girl to do to stay looking stylish but also stay cool?
I’ve compiled a list of the best 5 things to help you beat the Texas heat:
1. .Wear Sunblock. This SHOULD go without saying but so many of us (myself included) tend to skip the sun screen. I hate the oily feeling most sunblock brands tend leave on my skin, but I recently discovered this sunblock from Aveeno that doesn’t leave the icky oily feeling but still protects your skin from harmful UV rays. However you express you style this summer staying free of skin cancer is key. Even a small burn can lead to harmful melanomas down the line. Make sure to protect your skin to look fantastic for years to come!
2. Bring shade with you: Not only is wearing a sun hat absolutely fab, they help shield your face, neck, and shoulders from the sun and help you stay cooler! You can pair it with jeans and a t shirt, bathing suit, or maxi dress. They are incredibly versatile and add a touch of old Hollywood to any outfit. Check out this adorable hat for under $20!
3. Kaftans: This style of dress has been around for thousands of years. For me they are the dress equivalent of yoga pants. These can be dressed up or down and con be worn to every occasion imaginable. Something as simple as switching a necklace or bag can take this from day to night in an instant. This style of dress has been a staple in my closet for years. It is great for days when I just cannot be bothered to put together an outfit and just want to be comfortable, but still look glamorous. I have the kaftan below in several colors.
4. Get a great Primer. If you want to keep looking hot without looking sweaty invest in a good primer. I’ve been using the Becca primer for two years now and it keep my makeup on my face and not looking like a hot mess! This stuff is the holy grail for ladies like me who like to stay matte all day. *Tip: use a small pea sized amount and warm it between your fingers before applying to get the best finish.
5. Hydrate: Staying hydrated is crucial. Sun stroke can happen quickly in the extreme heat we are prone to here in the Hill Country, so when temperatures inch ever higher it is important to stay cool and make sure your body has enough water. Drinking lots of water also helps make sure your skin stays too, meaning fewer breakouts and lots of beauty benefits. I always have a water bottle on hand to make sure that I can hydrate through out the day. Consider taking a reusable bottle or cup such as S’well bottle or Yeti with you whenever you leave the house. These are also great when you head down to the Coast to keep our beverages chilled all day! Another benefit is that you will be using fewer disposable bottles, creating less waste, and helping out the environment at the same time!
Sometimes finding gifts can be difficult. I know I have had a few difficulties this year finding just the right thing for everyone on my list especially when trying to stay within my budget. So I thought I would share a few ideas with all of you to hopefully give you some inspiration!
Here are a few things to consider for those on your Nice List (with a few special treats thrown in):
This is a wifi hot spot aka wifi everywhere you go. I cannot tell you how useful this has been for me! It is a great gift for a college (or soon to be) student, frequent business traveler, or busy mom in your life. And I even have a discount for all of you! CLICK HERE to get $10 off your Karma Go purchase!
Starting at $18.99 a bottle ONEHOPE wine is a great choice for a holiday host/hostess gift.
With portions of the proceeds going to a myriad of different causes from hunger to breast cancer, you are sure to find a cause that both you and the recipient are passionate about. It is a gift that continues to give, binging meaning back into this holiday season.
Starting at $59
Starting at $18.99
If you want to give a gift that is a little more sentimental, a tasteful gift option is a beautiful holiday ornament.
The ornaments pictured above start at only $50. The person getting this gift will get all the thrill of opening the iconic little blue box but without the major ouch factor to your wallet. It is a wonderful keepsake that they can cherish for years.
These tumblers are everywhere for a reason, they are seriously awesome. I have two myself of different sizes and both make a great gift option. Starting at only $29.99 they make a great gift for the outdoorsy person or the college student in your life.
*Note DO NOT purchase these on Amazon. They are NOT from YETI,, and you will end up with a fake. You do not want to give someone a fake for Christmas! The only way to guarantee that it is authentic is to purchase directly from YETI.
Hands down the Totesavvy is the best purse organizer I have ever used even if it is technically made to be a diaper bag organizer. With or without children this is still an amazing gift. I have used mine for several months now and I love it so much that I actually purchased another one in a different color! If you or someone you know is like me, in that they like to take practically their entire house with them daily, this is the perfect present.
Life in Play has graciously offered you all a promo code as well! Use Code JESSICASTROM for 25% OFF your purchase of Totesavvy!!
SLG’s (Small Leather Goods)
Small leather goods are always a tasteful and welcome gift. All of the items below are from Leatherology, which offers amazing quality for a very competitive price. And the best part is that everything can be monogrammed!
I know what you’re thinking… toothpick case? Um WHAT?
It may seem a little bizarre (and believe me I didn’t get it wither when I moved to Texas, but hey I carry floss… same thing?) is the habit that many Southern men have (and sometimes women) of carrying toothpicks around everywhere. If you have a friend or family member that has this habit, consider getting them a toothpick case. Leatherology sells this one for $7. They also have it listed as a collar stay case, so if your loved ones are more of a business professional type this still works out great and makes a great stocking-stuffer.
I personally own two key cases, one for personal keys and the second for work keys. I currently have eleven keys on my work key case, without even going onto the other hook!
They keep your purse from getting scratched or getting holes ripped inside them/ keep you from stabbing yourself in the butt when you sit down on your wad of keys, and they look very chic. They come in a multitude of colors, perfect for both men and women on your nice list.
There you have it! Hopefully this list helps you with your last minute gift giving needs! Happy Holidays everyone!