Creating Family Heirlooms during the Holidays

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.

Love Song Charm

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.

Adorned Claddagh Ring

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

Merry Christmas Ornament This photo provided from James Avery

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.

Venetian Frame Hoop Ear Posts

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)!

Hill Country Photo Shoot with Simply Serie Photography

Just before Thanksgiving I got to do a shoot with Kate from Simply Seri Photography. I wanted to do some nice staged photos for some great glam shots for the blog and Kate was the perfect one to provide the lux experience I was looking for. 

This was also a fun experience to share as I got to drag my dear friend Will with me to model with me.  He hates being in front of the camera and doesn’t do social media, so having him agree to have his photos be part of this blog post and the experience is a HUGE deal and I’m so excited to share it with y’all! 

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Pure Glam!

Kate, the photographer behind Simply Serie Photography is  natural light photographer based in Boerne and San Antonio specializing in family portraiture, newborns, lifestyle, and weddings. But she provides SO much more than that. She is the only photographer in the area that offers a truly luxury experience beginning to end. 

BEFORE YOUR SESSION

  • Pre-session Consultation & Portrait Planning
  • Kate asked me what I had in mind for the photo session, what kind of shots I was looking for, and what I wanted to get out of the photos. I told her that I really wanted to have my friend’s vintage truck as part of the photoshoot and she gave me some great ideas on how to involve the truck into the series.
  • Pinterest Mood Board unique to your session
  • Kate was also amazing in outfit planning, giving me advice on what would look best on camera for myself and Will. She set up a Pinterest board for outfits and what I had in mind and different shots and then sent me clothing recommendations.  I really needed the help figuring out outfit options for him that would still fit into his style but be a little more elevated for the photos. Kate had some great ideas that he didn’t hate and really allowed me to involve both of our personalities into the pre planning. She was always available for texts with links to different sweaters and combinations to give her input. 
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Kate works tirelessly to make sure that the experience is amazing and doing the shoot with her was so different to other photographers in the area. It is like comparing the difference between buying a bag at LV vs. Target, luxury vs. just another person to move through the line. This was especially important to me because my friend Will is NOT someone who likes to be in front of the camera and he is not comfortable in situations like that. She made him feel so at ease and really worked to make the process as natural as possible. 

Check out some of the BTS shots :

AFTER YOUR SESSION

  • 1-on-1 Gallery Reveal:
  • If you were watching my ig stories you saw my gallery reveal. It is a great way to see your entire shoot and see the options available for leather bound album books, and museum quality photo canvas hangings.Prior to your gallery reveal you get to have Kate and her husband Chad can photograph the specific area in your home you want to hang your photo so that you can see exactly how it will look at various sizes in your home. This way you will never have to worry about getting your investment home and realizing that the print you ordered just isn’t big enough to hang above your fireplace ever again. 
  • Custom Portrait Slideshow
  • Print Consultation & Ordering
  • Hand delivered, installed, luxury heirloom items:
  • Kate and Chad will even come and install your canvas or print so that you know it is fully secured and ready to go. This is all inclusive with the cost of your session and photo purchase. It really is a full service luxury experience unlike any other photographer in the area. 

Another amazing thing that Simply Serie offers is that your photos will be catalogued permanently. If you decide three years from now that you’d really like one of the other photos of a loved one, you can rest assured that the photos will be there. Should there be a special occasion, or a tragic one, your memories will be preserved and available any time you want them.

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It was so important to me to have his car be a part of the shoot, since it is such a huge part of his life and I am so happy Kate recognized that and took the time to make it a character in the photo story. 
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She had just told him to ‘pull me along’ and I was laughing like crazy cause he really did!
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There really is no other photographer in the area that offers such a complete full service option like Simply Serie Photography. They provide a luxury experience from beginning to end, and if you are looking for the 5 star treatment for your families future memories, or to start them out, look no further that Simply Serie Photography in our own backyard here in the Hill Country!

 Book Your Session With Simply Serie Photography HERE!

*This post was edited to reflect the change in status of my relationship. We are still very close friends but the status of our relationship has changed and we are no longer a couple.

San Antonio Cocktail Confernece 2019

The San Antonio Cocktail Conference 2019 was another hit y’all!

There were so many incredible new drinks to sample and also so many new bar accessories to see and experience.

Attending the San Antonio Cocktail Conference gives you a reason to party for a purpose, with proceeds benefiting life savings children’s charities every year.

The San Antonio Cocktail Conference gives me the perfect chance to dress up and be extra!

The bartenders crafting these beautiful cocktails are truly at the top of their game and you can learn so much!

There are also all new brands piping up to try and develop a new love for!

I can’t wait to see what new things 2020 has in store! Keep an eye on the San Antonio Cocktail Conference details HERE.

Merry Christmas at Flower Vault

Merry Christmas y’all! I hope you’re having an amazing day with family and friends!

I recently took some holiday photos at the Flower Vault in San Antonio. Their locations close December 31st so don’t miss out!

Send Holiday Cheer With Basic Invite!

Tis’ The Season For Holiday Card’s!

I’m excited to send out my own solo Christmas Cards this year! It’s a daunting prospect for the first time you’re sending out cards on your own!

Thankfully I recently teamed up with Basic Invite so I could get my holiday cards all set to be sent out and give y’all a Coupon Code: holi30 for 30% off!

The Basic Invite Holiday Cards Maker is such an easy way to get professional holiday cards done quickly and easily! They have over 500 designs to choose from and an almost unlimited color pallet for your cards (Even the envelopes!) so you can have a truly unique option for your family.

The process is SO easy and really quick. You can choose from personalized holiday cards no photo required, or go fully custom and add in a great family (or in my case solo) photo!

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!

Summer Poolside Style: White Party

Summer White Parties are an annual tradition. It’s one of those occasions that makes you get creative with your wardrobe.


Since at a white party everyone wears white (kinda self explanatory), it’s the best time to get creative with your accessories without being too over the top.

If you’re as pasty white as your outfit (like I am), or if you just want to keep the sun’s harmful rays at bay, having a stylish hat is a summer wardrobe essential.

I love the straw hats from Goorin Bros. They roll up easily into my bag, but still hold their shape.

Its important to have a fun statement piece when you’re wearing the same hue head to toe, to keep your look unique and to add a pop of color.

I’m loving the Aztec Necklace from Grace and Charm, a local jewelry company here in the Hill Country. This delicate light weight necklace won’t weigh you down and is perfect for a breezy summer look.

I’m in LOVE with Amazonite right now, it’s the perfect stone for summer! The stone’s blue & green ocean colors are perfect for poolside style and definitely make this look!

Use Coupon Code: JULY40 to get 40% off your purchase at Grace and Charm!

This adorable ‘Totes Y’all’ tote from Draper James completes my summer poolside look. It’s red interior stripes just scream 4th of July BBQ!

However you spend your summer, I hope that yours stays sunny and bright!

Southern Summer Nights Look

A hot Texas Hill Country summer night calls for a bold look.

Wandering around this Boerne property, I loved seeing the old mustang grape vines that once thrived here, and seeing the rebirth of new growth and possibilities.

I love shopping local here in the Texas Hill Country. There are so many incredible places to discover and take inspiration from.

My Summer look features the ‘Aztec Necklace‘ sent to me by Grace and Charm . Grace and Charm is a local jewelry company in Austin that features beautiful handcrafted jewelry made with natural stones. I love that, while this is a statement necklace, it is not heavy on my neck, making this an easily wearable piece that has been in heavy rotation in my weekly outfits.

This mustard yellow dress reminds me of well mustard… which is a huge part of German and Czech dishes here in the Hill Country. I picked up this striking piece at Lenette’s Shop and Sip Boutique just down the road from Boerne in Helotes. It is SO nice to see local boutiques here that carry plus sizes!

Hat: Goorin Bros

Necklace: Grace and Charm

Dress: Lenette’s Shop and Sip Boutique

However you go bold this summer, do it with style.

Love,

-Jess

Summer Solstice Style

It’s June 21 aka the Summer Solstice!

That means it’s the longest day of the year!

To celebrate this ancient tradition, I went with a simple breezy look that had a very earthy feel.

Dress: Koh Koh Fashion

Necklace: Shop Grace and Charm

Sunglasses: Tom Ford

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!

Head over to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to make a donation and learn about these incredible animals!

Flower Vault San Antonio: Birthday Photoshoot

I recently celebrated my 27th birthday. To celebrate my ever quickening decent to 30 I decided to do something just for me and have a photoshoot. I obviously decided to go to the newest hotspot in the San Antonio area, Flower Vault, to be my backdrop.

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There are 5 flower themed instagram worthy rooms at Flower Vault and I knew it would be the prefect place to get some adorable springtime photos.  I enlisted the assistance of Deanna Mazzei Photography  to assist me in my flower wall princess photoshoot dreams.

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This is one of my favorites. I loved the beautiful rose and peony walls.

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Every Princess has as sidekick.

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Cocktail Chat With Sandra Spalding of Twin Liquors

The San Antonio Cocktail Conference was last week and if you are like me you were bursting with all kinds of ideas you wanted to try out… and also a lot of questions.
Now I have to be honest and tell you, I love a good cocktail but I am NOT 100% on my game when it comes to knowledge about cocktails and hostessing. Luckily at the SACC I got the chance to speak with someone who is!
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Giant Noise PR reached out to me and asked if I would like to speak with Hostessing Expert Sandra Spalding the Director of Marketing from Twin Liquors. Naturally I said I’d love to! I love meeting smart women who also support community events and philanthropy so I was thrilled to be able to talk with her about the Cocktail Conference and see if she could give me some tips, tricks, and to learn a little more about one of the sponsors of the San Antonio Cocktail Conference!
 I got to hang out with Sandra and Jessica on the Agave Bon Voyage river barge tour (Read about that and the conference HERE) and experience a great mascal and tequila tasting.

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I should have taken another photo but… tequila… sorry Sandra, next time photo shoot! lol

 After the boat tour and tasting I sat down with Sandra to get her hostessing tips and learn about Twin Liquors.
Twin Liquors is a historic company, starting just a few years after Prohibition ended. Can tell me a little about Twin Liquors company history and how that history plays a part in the company today?
Twin Liquors has been nationally recognized for its community involvement. Why does the company feel it is important to support community events like the San Antonio Cocktail Conference and charities/ nonprofits? 
Twin Liquors has many different events and classes available in local stores; why is providing community and customer educational opportunities important to Twin Liquors?
 
 Can you tell me more about some of the store events and resources that Twin Liquors offers that can help people learn more about wine, spirits, new products, tips, and and trends ?
What is a classic cocktail that everyone should have in their repertoire?
Twin Liquors is a sponsor for this year’s SACC, What has been your favorite cocktail to try at this years SACC?
Craft Sprits have been a big trend over the past few years; what are some of the wine, spirits, and cocktail trends you see continuing or upcoming for 2018? 
For individuals who are in the beginning stages of developing their host/ hostess collections ( individuals in their early 20’s and 30’s) what are some staples that a bar cart should never be without that can take them from season to season for entertaining?
 What things should the newbie host/hostess have available to make sure they are ready for entertaining at home?
In terms of making sure that your like ready to entertain, just make sure in terms of product in terms of spirits VODKA and Burbon are always great to have like even if you just have those two youre probably going to make most of your guests really happy. And then if you were to have a couple other things on your bar a tequila and a gin would be great and then having a sweet and dry vermooth will allow you to be able to make martinis manhattans and other drinks too. for instance if someone wanted a glass of white wine and you didnt necessarily have white wine you could always pour some vermooth on the rocks with a squeese of lemon , and make sure you always have a bowl of lemons limes oranges, and an hand juicer and you can make all kinds of drinks. A bottle of bitters is good, just having a bottle of angus stir a? If you have all of that stuff its not a huge investment, some sort of a beaker, for stirring, a spoon and a strainer, you can use a shot glass as a jigger or small glass that you probably already have in your cabinet and your good to go.
Any major dont’s or faux pas that should be avoided?
“The biggest faux pas in my opinion is bad glassware. I always say have great glassware even if it is mismatched, thats fine, just make sure you have good glassware. And even if you do have to use plastic cups theres cool plastic cups out there like govino .”
Bar cart staple tools?
For me Im not a big fan of having to shake drinks when Im having a big crowd of people. I prefer to be able to sort of just stir up a pitcher of something or make a punch. If your having to shake drinks all night its alot of work all night. but if you make a punch you just kind of pour off of that its a little bit easier.
If you have more than 8 people I would say to do a punch or a pitcher of something. And if you already have it made they can also pour themsleves.
what are some cocktails that you can make in a batch that is going to make someone look like they have their shit together?
I think its always good, especially if you have vodka on your bar, its always good to have a little individual club sodas and tonics because you can erry easily make a vodka tonic,
vodka soda, burbon and soda, and if you had one really good classic cocktail that you knew how to make , KNow how to make a manhattan. because if you know how to make a manhattan you can make a martini , you can tewak those you can make a manhattan on the rocks and varry it up and varry with garnishes too. so with really just teo ingreeidnets and some garinshes you can have some fun.
signature cocktai that you serve at your partys? Manhattan. Its old school.
Does Twin Liquors have for someone who wants to learn more ?
I always say the best resource is our people. We have the big market place stores where we offer classes like wine 101, entertaining classes, mixology classes, scotch classes; if those don’t work within your schedule we have very knowledgable staff. So if your shopping at the Boerne store and talking to Chris G there, he’s going to get to know you and be able to get a feel for what your serving and doing at your event
Once you get to know your Twin Liquors store staff and they get to know you they’re going to really be able to help guide you.
We have some online resources in the terms of knowledge area and fun videos. Jessica and I have a series of how to videos to make cocktails and we will be doing more of those soon. But really our best resource is our people, It great to watch a video but its way more fun if you can have a conversation and taylor it to what you like to do and what you like to drink.
*At this point we were interrupted momentarily when a stranger came up to us, gummy worms in hand, to ask Jessica if she wanted some of her candy. Being a favorite of Jessica’s she almost gave in but thankfully remembered the old “don’t take candy from strangers” rule! ‘Thanks but no thanks gummy worm fairy!’*
After the what were we talking about moment…
Is providing those community and customer educational resources and opportunities an important factor for Twin Liquors?
Yes, absolutely.
The istory of Twin is long but the short version is that the current generation (3rd generation) that are the current owners ( brother and sister) back in the 80’s when they decided to take if from gaavores? package store and turn it into tein liquors, named after their dad and uncle, margaret the sister was studying fashion and she said that she wanted to have a place where women feel comfortable shopping. And at the same time, her now late brother Ralph was a biochemist, and he was really into the idea scientifically of food and wine parings. So anytime they got together they were talking about food and wine and pairnig and all that, and the youngest brother who is the president of the company now, David,  who was a banker so he was the business sense, and it just all came together. Refined stores, displays, teachign people.
Margaret’ thing was ‘ when you go to the cosmetic counter you wnat to try the product on. you want to understand how to apply the makeup. and so that was the approch that they took . Tastings, really teaching people how to make drinks, how to do pairings. It really is a pillar of what Twin Liquors is and from there it was instilled in the employees. We try to have one employee at every single one of the events at SACC, so that our staff is educated so that they can educate the consumers that some into our stores.
Twin Liquors is a sponsor for the San Antonio Cocktail Conference, 
and Twin Liquors has also contributed a great deal to different nonprofits and community organizations over the years, is philanthropy something built into the company values?

Yes, One of the bothers that i mentioned earlieer passed away from heart failure. Because of that Margaret got involved with the American Heart Association, and David was really involved in the arts side like the opera. That small spark really snowballed. And one we started opening neighborhood stores, its only natural right?, you’re a neighborhood store, you have two or three employees, and every store gets to know the community and as they get to know the community they get to know what important to you. And we got hooked up with Kathy Seigal through heart gift and heard about the conference in san antonio, and margaret and kathy really hit it off and the whole premis of san antoino cocktail conference is the huston street charities, which are all life saving childrens charites was really somethign that appealed to Twin Liquors, and so even this last fall we donated a bottle of pappy van winkle 25 year to the conference and they auctioned it off and withthat an a few other items that night we raised over 15000 dollars. Its pretty cool when you can do that and its like give back/ have fun / learn it all kinda goes together.

Has there been a cocktail that you’ve tried at the events that you’ve really enjoyed so far?
Sandra Spalding: I love the signature cocktail that they has this year the Tío Mío with Herradura Añejo tequila, which is essentially an old fashioned. Modern takes on classic drinks are always fun.
Jessica Barnard: I  loved the Pina Colada with Jim Beam Bonded Bourbon.
Can you tell me if there are any fun events at Twin Liquors  coming up?
We have a cool Robert Burns scotch tasting event on January 24th; and in February we’re celebrating Valentine’s with a Valentine Italian Social. We’re going to be tasting a bunch of Italian wines and wine 101 classes. Really every month we always have something going on, particularly at the big stores like on Bitters and 281 in San Antionio.