Sunday, December 1, 2013

Black Friday reminds me of the Holiday Olé Market!

As Black Friday approaches, I am reminded of the week of FUN we had at the 2013 Holiday Olé Market! It is hard to believe that a month has past (time flies!). This year,  throngs of women (and men) from all over the city (and state!) piled into the Exposition Hall at the Freeman for a week of “Shopertainment.”  "The 2013 Holiday 'Ole Market was a HUGE success," says Erin Alsup, JLSA Holiday Olé committee member. Thank goodness because the success of this event is vital to projects JLSA sponsors in and around San Antonio. "All of the net proceeds from this event allow us to provide much-needed resources for our projects and our non-profit beneficiaries.  Without this funding, JLSA cannot go out into the community and make an effective, meaningful impact," says Shannan Pfeifer, another Holiday Olé Committee member. The Junior League of San Antonio has kept the Holiday Olé Market alive since the first market took place in 1990. Just like Shannan mentioned, the money raised from the three day shopping extravaganza helps fund projects all over San Antonio. 

This year Holiday Ole featured five events that entertain all age groups form all over the city. The events were everything from a night dedicated to shopping with your girlfriends to watching the most precious pre-teens walk the runway to read more about what went on at the events, visit this link: Now, check out the pictures from the week of "Shopertainment" yourself!

Looks like a blast, huh? You MUST join us next year! 

Another thing the holidays remind me of is our service men and women who so bravely serve in our nations military. The school I teach at recently honored our veterans during a Veterans Day assembly. It gave me goosebumps to see them cheer for each branch of the military and wave their American Flags proudly. Those same goosebumps arise when I learned about the World War II War efforts the Junior League of San Antonio proudly became apart of. Women of the organization dropped everything they were doing and focused their time to serving their country in anyway they could. Women like Mrs. Amanda Ochse 

who was waitressing at the Bright Shawl and decided to become a volunteer at places like the Red Cross, British Relief, and the Aircraft Warning Service. Women like Mrs. Ochse began raising money, organizing food drives, and donating blood. By the end of the war, women of the league had raised over 1,000 canned goods for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation and donated $1,500 in care packages for the troops. This is equivalent to $17,404 today! The women did not stop there. They continued their support by establishing a blood bank and nursing organization at Robert B. Green Hospital. They also provided shelter by turning the patio of the Bright Shawl into temporary housing for soldiers stationed at San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center. 

The very thought of all of this exhausts me and makes me thankful for this organization during a time when we can sit down and reflect on things we are thankful for. I hope you will remember all the leagues efforts- past and present- during this season of giving. Happy Holidays!  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Summer of Service

While some of us were off enjoying some summer fun, many Junior League of San Antonio women were actively giving back to their community. 

The projects for this summer's SA works (our community service outreach program) ranged from assisting in deep cleaning Seaton Home to cooking for participants at the Children's Bereavement Center. Women of the league pulled up their gloves, and put on their aprons to get down and dirty. Giving to the community is at the center of this organizations core values. 

Sitting in our time traveling machine, we have made our way to the 1940’s. Before you read this next blog entry I want your to sit back and grab a near by tissue- trust me, you’re going to need it.
            The Sunshine Cottage, School for the deaf is another outreach program that we serve. In fact our Junior League ancestors ESTABLISHED IT! 

            This program excited me to my very core. Being a teacher, working with special needs children hits REALLY close to home. I can still remember visiting the Sunshine Cottage on my new member tour. Visiting the classrooms, I was surprised by the state of art technology the classrooms had to offer. 
        I guess when I think about  a child with hearing impairments, I automatically place them into a foreign language category since I assumed these children will only learn sign language. However, while learning about their facility and the great job their teachers are doing, I learned their children are very similar to MY students! Watching this video entitled "Children Learning to Read" you can see that their morning message is similar to regular education children. They learn the sounds of letters, how to read them, and how to pronounce them. 
            How the school came to be- In 1944 Tuletta White was born to John and Dela White. 

 After learning that  their child was born deaf, the parents struggled to cope. They looked at schools for children similar to their own. The closest school was the “Tracy Clinic” in Los Angeles, California.  The Whiltes were excited that they had other parents to collborate with, but the thought of sending their child to a different state sent them looking for different options.
 That is when Mrs. White turned to the organization she was apart of and believed in, the  Junior League of San Antonio.  In 1946 the league voted to fund $4,500 (which would calculate to $ 52,213 in today economy).
Mrs. White worked hard to obtain a building to house the school in. She was able to acquire a caretakers house near the Landa Library. Free yellow paint was given to accepting volunteers, and soon a yellow school house was complete.
  In the summer of 1944 the first class of 7 preschoolers, including Tuletta,  received instruction from Miss Mark Kay Van Wyk.

Since its debut, the school has outgrown 2 buildings and now resides off Hildebrand Ave. the school serves Preschool-5th grade.  The school is “…accredited by  Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement, OPTIONSchools International, and is a Texas Education Agency Approved non-public school. The school provides  the newest and best hearing technology.” When I was able to tour the school, I was fascinated by the amount of technology the teachers had available to their children. The school prides itself in helping children become an active part in the hearing world. This includes education on how to speak using intelligible speech, not sign language. Don’t you get the warm fuzzies thinking the Junior League of San Antonio helped get this school up and running?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Children of the '30's to Artists of Today

As I have rummaged through historical documents, I am realizing that  the Junior League of San Antonio Women were amazing philanthropists, even as far back as the 1930’s.   The 1930’s proved to be a decade of  improving children's health. Catching word that a Free Children’s Health Care clinic started in San Antonio, the women immediately started funding the organization, as well as providing volunteers. As the decade progressed, the women began to implement new programs at the free health care clinic. The programs included a dental clinic, an eye clinic, a heart and lung clinic, and Well Baby Day program. Don’t think for a minute that these ladies started the programs and did not provide hands on help

These women got down and dirty, volunteering their time at the clinic as well. The women fell in love with this program so much, they hand built a playground at the facility for children to enjoy. The clinic was sadly closed after 18 years of providing children with love and medicine.

Sad faces were the last thing on display at the Bright Shawl a few weeks ago. Laughter, drinks clinking, and friends  chatting could be heard at the Bright Shawl galley for the “Last Friday Cocktail Art Party”. The walls of the Bright Shawl were full of amazing works of art by artist James Joffe.

As I glance at one picture, my mind sends me to a beautiful hillside side, rich in bluebonnets and Indian paint brushes. The hills are rolling as the sun beats down on the river that winds between the two hills. As I move to the next photo, goosebumps form on my forearms. The mixture of whites and blues in the picture, remind me of a snowy day in New Mexico. The picture tells my mind to grab a coat since the air outside is cold. I can’t understand why my mind escaped to beautiful landscapes when I look at the abstract pictures painted by this talented artist. I decide to ask him where he gets his inspiration. He tells me ‘landscapes, I may not be able to paint the flower but I can paint the feeling I get.’  Artists are featured monthly in the Bright Shawl Art Gallery.  Come by and check out these incredible works of art. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Digging Up Gold

Cleaning out closets at the Bright Shawl may not be a duty fit for a queen looking for treasure. However,  a few treasure seeking members from JLSA spent their morning cleaning out store rooms in the Bright Shawl.

The Bright Shawl was filled with plenty of "OoooOOO's" and "Ahhhh's" as members scoured the storage closets. They were hoping to score some gold for their committees. The "hidden" stairs seemed scary.

However, what waited for us at the top could be described as a treasure chest at the end of a San Antonio Junior League rainbow.  Artifacts, antique furniture, posters all reminded us of our past. And of course, we found dolls.....

Yes, dolls. This doll, given to us by the Red Hat Society, proves that JLSA is treasured by a lot of organizations because of our consistent commitment to service. Digging through artifacts last week, I learned about a treasured JLSA era, the 30's.  Along with starting a free dental clinic (Children's Free Clinic) for children and installing playgrounds, our JLSA ancestors were interested in FASHION!

Joske's, an old department store in downtown San Antonio, started clothing women in 1867. The company noticed all the good Junior League of San Antonio was doing in our community and decided to be our main supplier of fashion. Members used this new partner to throw fashion shows and celebrate good doings with new friends. 


  From a golden era to a golden time, the Junior League of San Antonio is filled with golden memories.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cruisin' through the 20's

         As we take a ride in our time traveling machine, you will notice glitzy dresses, a jazzy tune, and the first set of Chrysler cars driving down the road. Yes, we have arrived in the 1920’s. October of 1925 to be exact.  This is when the Junior League of San Antonio took over our “home”- the Bright Shawl. The Bright Shawl was named by our former league members after Joseph Hergerheimer's popular 1920’s book, The Bright Shawl. The Bright Shawl was originally located in Kampmann home on Nacogdoches Street. After a fundraiser with the Magic Theater, the league raised $30,000 to open the current location on Augusta Street. The little house, now home to over 1,200 members, contains masonry from a quarry that once existed in Brackenridge Park (before it was Brackenridge park, of course). Closer to the 1940’s, former league members could be seen busy rushing around waitressing. It is hard to believe they would be serving me as I sit in the 2013 Bright Shawl Tea Room. Look at this fun artifact our communication council chair, Tiffany Nelson found. It is a letter from the president dating back to the 1920's:

Hearts full of charity is a way you could describe the JLSA Reading Camp Volunteers. Serving children around San Antonio, volunteers strive to keep learning fun and motivating.  

When I asked how the Reading Camp program benefits children, Reading Camp, co-chair Emily Countryman, tells me “Reading Camp bridges the summer learning gap. Many students lose up to a half or full school year worth of reading skills over summer because of lack of exposure and books at home. We worked on a variety of skills for two weeks and sent each child home with 6 books for summer reading!” 

This sounds like a fun way to spend the summer doesn’t it? Katey Drexler, reading camp volunteer explains her favorite part was the “relationships you form with the kids!” I can only image the positive influence these volunteers made in these children’s lives.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pass the torch.... TO ME!

Let’s give a HUGE round of applause to Kelly Anderson, our 2012-2013 JLSA Blogger. She passed the torch on to me, Amanda Shippey on June 1st. I have not burned myself yet, but this is my first blog entry. On June 1st  the sky did not display an enchanting show of fireworks. People were not prancing around in their black and gold hats blowing noisemakers. However, if you ask any JLSA member they will tell you their excitement and goals for the upcoming year, much like a New Years resolution. “I want the League to be set up for success, so I want to make sure I am proactive this year and ready to hit the ground running come spring.” Says our thrilled president elect, Kristen Henry. I have found that many members goals are similar to mine, shedding light on the past 90 years of JLSA. When I asked Dana Cleveland how she will celebrate the 90th celebration of San Antonio Junior League, she said, “Engaging our members in our heritage and continuing to serve our community.” Through out the new year, I hope to show you how JLSA has changed over the past 90 years. You will notice the blog entries will take you for a ride in a time traveling machine. You will see the Bright Shawl opening in the 20’s, ladies fashion shows in the 30’s, to the opening of Holiday Ole in the 90’s.  I hope you enjoy your summer and start of a new JLSA year!  A few of our members enjoyed their first week at the Witte Museums Annual Burgers, Bottles, and Beer celebration.  

Pictured are ten members, some meeting for the first time.

Isn’t great how a wonderful organization allows you link up with an exceptional group of women? Speaking of summer, have you heard about the Elaine Turner Event? 

Shopping, eating, and hanging out with your friends sounds like an amazing way to spend your summer. So get out and support The Junior League of San Antonio! RVSP to if you plan on attending.   

Friday, May 31, 2013

Until we meet again...

It's been a real pleasure blogging for the JLSA this year! I can't believe this is my last post. It also marks my last official duty as an active JLSA member--that's right, ladies, this 40-year-old is going sustainer. I have thoroughly enjoyed my years with the JLSA--I've met new people, spent quality time with my friends, tried new things, learned about our city's amazing community partners, and I've had a great time doing it. I'm looking forward to continuing my journey with the League as a sustaining member, and I know I'll hear often from my friends who will remain actives about the goings-on of the Junior League. I also expect to get updates on the League's awesome website and blog.

I'd like to introduce you to next year's blogger, Amanda Shippey!

Amanda and I met in April to discuss the transition, and I know she is excited to take on this fun and creative task of keeping our League and blog readers informed of all the exciting happenings of the JLSA.

Have a great summer, everyone! I plan to spend a little time in Port A, with the sand beneath my toes. See you on the sustainer side of the JLSA bridge!

Kelly Anderson
JLSA Blogger 2012-2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ole! Fiesta with the JLSA!

We all know that April showers bring May flowers (and we are so thankful for the showers our city is getting right now!). April also ushers in a favorite two-week fun time in San Antonio--Fiesta! Last month I had a little Fiesta preview at Sustainer Anne Ahlschwede's lovely Alamo Heights casa when I attended her March Sustainer In-Home Meeting on March 20.

She kicked off her patio party with these delicious chilled avocado soup shooters, individual seven layer dips and sopaipilla bars.

Board Secretary Carrie Lane led an informative and lively meeting and discussion al fresco.

A fun and festive Fiesta tradition is wearing and sharing Fiesta medals. Carrie had this year's JLSA medal available for purchase:

Want one or more to give to family and friends? Click here for purchasing info!

After you've made your very own Fiesta sombrerito tonight at 6:30 at The Bright Shawl, be sure to wear it to this month's general meeting, hosted by the Community Council next Tuesday, April 9 at 7:00pm. The theme is "Fiesta Hats and Fascinators."

Viva Fiesta, everyone! And viva JLSA!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Two Date Nights at the Bright Shawl

I've been a member of the JLSA for several years, and my husband and I have been to a few League events together, but I don't think we've ever been to two JLSA events in the same week. Plus, the demands of work and kids make it hard for us to get away for a little time for ourselves. This week, Ryan and I attended a member credit shift together in the ball room at the Bright Shawl, and it was so fun and interesting. Taryn Little, JLSA Training Manager, organized a class for couples focused on finding their Gallup Strengths and learning how knowing each other's strengths can improve a relationship. Ryan and I learned a lot (Ron & Jennifer Soos were such dynamic and engaging speakers!), and we had a good time doing it.

 Ryan and I discovered we had some of the same individual strengths 
and learned about how our strengths impact our relationship.

After the class, we decided to grab a bite to eat. We headed just a few blocks down the street to The Brooklynite. It was Tiki Tuesday! And the pink Tapa Tapa truck was parked outside, enticing us to try some really unusual and tasty bites. If you and your significant other (or your JLSA girlfriends) are looking for a fun place to visit after a meeting, I highly recommend you head down the street to The Brooklynite. Who knew Ryan and I could have such a fun date night at and around the Bright Shawl on a windy Tuesday night in February?

My "Painkiller" cocktail in a kitchy tiki glass paired perfectly
with Tapa Tapa's "Mac n' Cheezits." Fun!

Oh, and I forgot to mention that we had a glass of wine during our class at the Bright Shawl.... Speaking of wine, Ryan and I will be heading BACK to the Bright Shawl this Saturday for Fete du Cuvee. Two date nights in one week is relatively unheard of for Ryan and me, but the fact that both date nights are JLSA events occurring at the Bright Shawl is pretty amazing! Hope to see you at Fete!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Guest Blog: Feteworthy Fashions at Julia's Attic!

A big welcome and thank you to this week's guest blogger, Ariana Barbour (Community Council Chair). Ariana and and Erica Ellis (Communications Council Chair) went on a hunt for that perfect dress at four of the Goodwill Locations participating in JLSA's annual Rummage Around Goodwill Event on Saturday, February 23rd. Take it away, Ariana!

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect dress for Fete du Cuvee (on March 2nd) or the Patron Preview Party (on February 21st), you don’t need to look any further than your closest Goodwill featuring a Julia’s Attic. Erica and I went out to discover the treasures of Julia’s Attic and found lots of options for even the most formal occasion.  Dark and long, or short and bright, you can find something you like at a price that’s right!

We visited the following locations and loved the selection at every single one:

Erica found this sweet frock, that's a little sassy because it's strapless. This is a perfect option for the Patron Preview Party.  

The color on this dress is subtle at first, but you'll light up in every picture when the flash hits it just right at Fete du Cuvee.

Shimmery and a little spunky, this pink number lets you be the life of Fete! I'd have bought it, if it was my size. If you're lucky it might still be there! 

Does the man in your life refuse to invest in a dark suit for special occasions? Or did he spend his clothing allowance on a new Yeti cooler? Well, you can get him all spruced up for your Fete date night here. 

Your main squeeze doesn't have to be the one getting all the attention! You can sparkle, literally, in this sequined number.  

Erica went home with this gold and black fun find. It's a little rock 'n' roll and still appropriate for a night out on the town, like the Patron Preview Party! 

I considered this dark blue gown with a sparkly flower detail. Matching shawl included! Unfortunately, the fit was not quite right. 

Another cute dress that wouldn't quite fit, so I did the next best thing. It's a cute sequined number that can make the right girl glow at Fete. Maybe it's you? 

Erica had all the luck on this excursion with another great find! Now she has two options in her closet for the Patron Preview Party! 

More treasures will await you at these and other locations participating in the Rummage Around Goodwill Event: 

Hope to see you at the JLSA Rummage Around Goodwill event on Saturday, February 23rd!