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.

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

Game Night Fun With Boerne-Opoly

Game night is a serious business. You need the right board games to facilitate the right flow of conversation, competition, and yet still let everyone be at ease.

Enter Boerne-Opoly! Late For The Sky Games gifted me with board game that immortalized our very own little Hill Country haven.

Boerne-Opoly features local favorites like the Dienger Trading Co., Boerne Berges Fest, and more! Each card, property, and photo is something that is uniquely Boerne.

When your gathering supplies for your next game night don’t just have local beer and bites, pick up our local game as well!

Boerne-Opoly is available from Late For The Sky Games at Walmart. Be sure to pick one up or enter my Instagram Giveaway for a chance to win one Boerne-Opoly game for your next game night!

Event Photo Recap: Boerne Bier Fest 2018

Boerne Bier Fest opened to chilly temperatures but excited visitors. The event was one of the most well run events that’s taken place on the square. Check in was speedy, almost zero wait times for bathrooms and beer, and everyone could move around without being encumbered by other guests. It’s a fantastic celebration of German brew culture, and showcased Boerne’s personality …and of course had great beer!

Bier Fest visitors braved the chilly Spring weather to taste some of the available brews.

Had to start with two of my favorite local Boerne breweries Cibolo Creek Brewing Company and Boerne Brewery. These two are my go to beers in the Boerne area.

ALAMO Beer had my favorite new IPA.

Lorelei Brewing Company is my pick for the most beautiful artwork. I’m a sucker for mermaids! Rough Diamond Brewery was one of my absolute favorite finds of the event. They’re open now and will be having all kinds of new and exciting events at their tasting room! Tusculum Brewing Co. provided heaters and hot coco to Bier Fest attendees and showcased what will go into their new Brewhaus once it’s open.

They also offered chicken bingo which brought quite a few laughs to the event.

I happened to win the first round of chicken bingo. Lucky number 13!

The Beer Hoisting Contest proved to be a very entertaining affair. Men and women competed against each other and the clock to see who should be victorious!

Special shout out to Freetail Beer because they’re always so awesome!

Boerne Bier Fest proceeds go to the Hill Country Council for the Arts, which chooses different arts organizations to benefit from the funds raised every year.

Attending Bier Fest was a great way to get out and support our local arts community and have a fun day discovering new favorite local beers!

The festival will definitely secure a place as the best beer festival in Boerne.

Jam and Toast Brunch at The Rustic San Antonio

I finally had the chance to check out The Rustic this morning. My SO and I headed down to The Rim at La Canterra to get out brunch on at The Rustic’s Jam and Toast Brunch.

Several waitstaff greatest us upon our arrival and when we were seated Mercy our waitress gave us the lowdown on the menu and told me about the amazing Pumpkin Spice Margarita, that of course you know I had to try!

The best part about brunch at The Rustic is that you you don’t have to settle for sweet or savory, you get to try a little bit of everything… and everything is to die for!

Their bacon is probably the best I’ve ever had and may very well change your life!

The Rustic’s Jam and Toast Brunch runs on Saturdays and Sundays from 10-2 with live music starting at 12:30. If you are member of the military, or are a first responder you also get 25% (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).

The Rustic is certainly the epitome of Texas chic and might just be my new go-to brunch spot in town!

Hill Country Hurricane Help

Many of us here in the Hill Country have strong ties to Rockport, Port A, and Houston. Many of you have homes, friends, and family in the effected areas. Some of my favorite places in Rockport have sustained heavy damage or been wiped off the map entirely. People are without power, surrounded by floodwaters, and in desperate need of basic necessities, food, and water. Organizations need a lot of help and need monetary donations in order to get people the help they need.

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Man comforts pet in Rockport after the loss of his home

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Damage to the Fulton Mansion Historic Site

If you cannot get down to help in person, you can still help those in need.

How To Help:

  1. Give Blood.Give Blood. Major injuries from the storm mean blood shortages. One donation can save multiple lives. The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center has many locations accepting donations. Find one HERE.
  2. Amazon Smile. Help those in need by doing your normal Amazon shopping. Simply choose a charity you want to donate to and shop like normal. It doesn’t cost you anything but helps do so much good. I currently have The Aquarium at Rockport Harbor as my chosen charity. They were completely destroyed during Hurricane Harvey.
  3. Text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross or CLICK HERE TO DONATE.
  4. Air BnB has a page to list your rental or a room so that those fleeing the area have someplace to stay. If you have room consider listing it to help someone in need. LIST YOUR SPACE HERE.
  5. Text UWFLOOD to 41444 to donate to the United Way Flood Relief Fund. OR DONATE HERE.
  6. Humane Society.  The Humane Society helps pets and wildlife impacted by the hurricane. Give to their disaster relief HERE.
  7. SPCA Texas. There have been thousands of pets displaced by the storm. DONATE HERE to help Texas animals.
  8. Donate to The Salvation Army’s Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. CLICK HERE TO DONATE.
  9. The Texas Diaper Bank needs help providing aide to families with small children donate here.
  10. The Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce has set up a GoFundMe account to help with recovery efforts. You can DONATE HERE to help Rockport directly.

*UPDATE* If you want to donate items directly to Rockport Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper Realtors is accepting donations at their office. They will be taking down supplies on Friday September 1st so please drop off soon! Needed items are listed in the photo below.

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IF YOU ARE SEEKING ASSISTANCE/ REFUGE FROM HURRICANE HARVEY:

  • Find an open shelter near you by texting SHELTER and your zip code to 4FEMA (43362). You can also use the FEMA mobile app.
  • Air B&B is offering FREE accommodations for evacuees checking in between August 23rd and September 1st. If you need a place to stay CLICK HERE.
  • Call the Red Cross at 877-500-8645, or find a list of open shelters here.
  • Call the United Way Helpline at 211 for information on shelters and other forms of assistance.
  • The Texas Association of Business has established a hotline to provide resources to business owners affected by the storm. Call 512-637-7714 or see the website.
  • Texas State Park camping is free to hurricane evacuees.

Hurricane Harvey has caused damage but if we work together we can rebuild and restore our communities and emerge from the flood waters stronger than ever.

#TexasStrong #RockportStrong #PortAStrong #HoustonStrong

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Escaping Flooding with Pets

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Damage at the Coast