Perini Ranch Wedding - Abbie & Josh

A few miles down the road from Abilene, Texas lies a tiny town called Buffalo Gap, home to Perini Ranch Steakhouse.  While most know Perini's as a staple of Texas cuisine, the stately trees and shaded grounds also serve as a beautiful wedding venue for those looking for a rustic, intimate setting.  Abbie and Josh got married here on a gorgeous summer evening and you will swoon looking through the images captured by eePhotography!  

TB&B: What made you choose Perini's for your wedding day?

Abbie: It was always a date spot for us and it's also where our families always meet up to eat when they visit! 

TB&B: Describe your wedding day style and tell us about the inspiration behind it.

Abbie:  Bohemian...western...eclectic.  I found my bridesmaid dresses on Etsy - a lady designed them in all different styles using vintage silk and lace.  I'm not a uniform/everyone look the same type of girl, so she helped me create a variety of dresses to fit the personality and style of each of my girls.  My husband is a country boy from Memphis, Texas, so we definitely had to throw some boots and buckles in the mix, which I love!  I found church pews on Craigslist for FREE and my amazing in-laws went and picked all of them up for me and delivered them to the wedding site.  The wedding doors (for the ceremony backdrop) were made by some family friends, and my mom and mother-in-law had a huge part in decorating the site.  My husband and all of his friends cut and lacquered all 250 wooden chargers for the tables.  Honestly, almost all of the wedding decor was DIY! 

TB&B:  What were a few of the most special moments from your ceremony?

Abbie: Well, for starters, my father-in-law officiated the wedding ceremony, so that was pretty special.  Also, he and my mother-in-law planned a surprise for us!  They played the song "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz and gave the whole wedding party butterflies to release.  My mother-in-law later told me they did this because the song defines our love story and she knew I loved butterflies.  So they just wanted to do a little something extra and unexpected (that's the way they are)!  We wrote our own vows and placed them on a window for guests to read.  They're now on a wall in our bedroom!

TB&B: Speaking of love stories, give us the nutshell version of yours.

Abbie:  Whew.  This is really a long story!  So, in a nutshell, my husband, persistent as he is, had heard through friends about this girl who he had seen in pictures and decided that he was going to make it his goal to hunt me down one weekend and find me while visiting Abilene during our college days.  He succeeded, we dated for a year in college, but separated so he could focus on his career.  I remained best friends with his sister and 6 years later, life found us in a place where we were ready to get back together.  The rest is history!

Beautiful venue, beautiful couple, beautiful story.  A big thank you to Erin of eePhotography (based in DFW) for sharing these images with us.  

Venue/Catering:

Perini Ranch

Furniture Rental/Decor:

ABC Tent & Party

(tables & chairs) + antique stores, Canton trade days, DIY

Cake:

 United Supermarkets

Bridal Gown:  

Claire Pettibone Bridal Couture

Bridesmaid Dresses:  

Etsy - Amanda Rose Bridal

Prickly Pear Jelly: Aaron Watson Discusses The Underdog, Nashville, and Taking His Own Path

For fifteen years, Aaron Watson has been steadily making a name for himself among the greats of the Texas Country genre.  His 12th album, The Underdog, was released two weeks ago and has since been sitting at the top of the iTunes Country chart, but Aaron isn't slowing down.  He just played Ryman Auditorium, the mother church of country music, and makes his Grand Ole Opry debut in March.  To Aaron, the awards and honors pale in comparison to the loyalty of his fans, the love of his family, and the steadfastness of his faith.  We had the honor of talking with Mr. Watson about his latest record and family life.  What does jelly have to do with The Honky Tonk Kid?  Read on...

TB&B: You had Keith Stegall, who's produced records for George Jones, Alan Jackson, Clay Walker, and other Nashville big names, as your producer on The Underdog.  What made you want to work with Keith on this album, and how was working with him different than other albums you've made?

AW: Anyone in the music business knows Keith is a heavy hitter.  I had gained a lot of momentum after releasing the last album, Real Good Time, so I knew I needed to raise the bar.  I needed someone to push me to the next level.  It's always been a dream of mine to work with Keith, and finally being able to do that really motivated me to be more prepared.  We made, what I think, is my best album yet and I really felt like working with Keith was like enrolling in a Masters program.  Even after 15 years and 2,000 shows, I still felt like I learned something and that I matured - especially as a singer - while making this album.

When you're four and you're cute, you get to sign Aaron's boot.

TB&B: How did you come to the decision to choose "The Underdog" as the album name?  You've talked about the message you wanted it to give your kids, but is there also a deeper meaning?

AW: It was a special song to me - a letter to my boys, from Dad, so that when I'm gone some day they'll know how much I love 'em and know what I expect of them.  It's probably partly something I've felt as an artist too.  I've always been more on the traditional side, and since I've been in the business, that hasn't been embraced.  The traditional stuff is just not something they've been looking for anymore, at least at the big name record labels.  Big labels get you played on mainstream corporate radio, and if you can't get played on mainstream radio, then the cards are stacked against you.  I've been an underdog in this industry.  I haven't had radio to build my business, so I built it with my fans, and the success of this album is really a testament to them.

TB&B: Tell us about your writing process.  Do you have certain timeframes set aside, or is it more impromptu, whenever something inspires you?

AW: When I'm working on an album I get more focused.  I'll get up early, before my wife and kids are up if I'm at home, or if I'm on the road, before my band gets up.  I'll make coffee - I love to write when things are quiet in the morning.  Really, though, throughout the day I'm constantly collecting ideas for songs.  It's definitely a hobby of mine, writing songs, and I'm just lucky that I can make a living doing it.  

TB&B: To you, what is it that sets country music in Texas apart from Nashville?

AW: I used to be a little more opinionated about this back in the day.  I do think Texas Country fans are the most loyal of any genre.  It's kind of like a birthright.  They feel like they own it - like they have stock in it.  Because if not for Texas Country fans, there is no Texas Country music.  There's also a lot more independence in Texas, from an artist's standpoint.  We do what we want to do.  I think there's some Nashville guys who are a little envious of the way we do things here, because nobody's telling us what songs to sing, what to wear... we don't have to wear the skinny jeans.  But I've always put it like this: it'd be a sad world if there was only one flavor of jelly.  If you want some grape jelly, you can listen to Luke Bryan.  But if you want some, let's say, apricot... or prickly pear jelly... then you can listen to me.  I've realized as I've gotten older, that as artists, we're all just trying to do the same thing - and that's putting food on the table for our families. 

TB&B: You just played Ryman Auditorium, you've got your Grand Ole Opry debut in March - where do you go from there?  What goals do you still want to achieve?

AW: I've had one goal the whole time, and that's to pay off my wife's credit card bill each month.  Joking!  Kind of.  I really don't have a list of goals.  I wouldn't say that that the accomplishments don't mean anything to me - it's exciting, getting to do those things - but I'm just not wired like that.  I just go day to day.  This is my family business, and it's also my ministry.  I've always prayed that God would help me focus on what really matters, and that's my faith, my family, and my fans.   

TB&B: Speaking of family and your wife, how did you two meet?  Your relationship and the esteem in which you hold each other is a major part of what your fan base loves about you.  People appreciate a love like that. 

AW: Well, I stopped her at school - we were at ACU - we had mutual friends, but I had never talked to her.  One day she was sitting there and I went up and said something corny, like What have you been up to? She said she had just had a birthday, and so I asked her if she did anything fun to celebrate, and she said No and made this really cute frowny face.  So I said, "Well I'll take you out for your birthday..." and the rest is history.  As for our relationship, we really just try to keep God in the middle of it.  We are NOT perfect, and we don't want anybody to think that we are.  Nobody is.  It's not perfection, it's persistence, and always trying to be better.  It's tough!  You have to constantly re-evaluate.  Our lifestyle is a little different, so half the time we make it up as we go along.  We just always try to get that family time in and we have a Never Say Die attitude.  Marriage is hard work, but it's also really rewarding.  

One fan at the in-store signing had brought a cowboy hat of her late father's for Aaron to sign.  Ray Price's autograph can be seen on the left side.  She and her father had always loved listening to Watson's song "Diesel Driving Daddy," and when her father passed away, she made sure it got played at his funeral.

TB&B: Lastly, what songs have you been loving lately?  Any recent repeats on your iPod?

AW: Honestly, I've been so engulfed in my own - so busy with the album release - that I haven't really had time to listen to anything.  And my kids control the playlist when they're with me.  My boys like The Beatles and Michael Jackson - or Uncle Jackson, as Jolee Kate calls him.  They also make me play my own songs for them a lot, which annoys me and makes me really happy all at the same time.

Among singer/songwriters, Aaron Watson is a different breed.  He's achieved lasting success despite a lack of major label representation, sells out shows on a regular basis, and has found a way to balance the resources Nashville has to offer with the independent mindset of his home state.  The Underdog, stylistically, shows a maturity not seen in Watson's previous albums and a variety in the melodies that will appeal to a wide audience, while still staying true to his traditional, old-school country roots.  You don't want to miss this release - get it on iTunes or as part of a merchandise package on aaronwatson.com.

Twisted Sisters

We've got the dreary weather, middle-of-the-week blues, but what better to cheer us up than a look back at a trip to another of our favorite boutiques?  The clothes, accessories, and furniture at Twisted Sisters are bright and colorful, with touches of vintage and a rock-and-roll edgy twist.   

Part of what we love about visiting these stores and getting to know the people behind the businesses is finding out more about their story and what they've overcome on the path to having a successful business.  Laura's story blew us away.  She had worked as a cosmetologist for 15 years but always knew that owning a women's boutique was her ultimate dream.  Shortly after opening Twisted Sisters in its Concho Crossing location in San Angelo in early 2013, Laura was the victim of a hit and run accident.  She had poured her heart and soul into starting the store of her dreams, had just opened the doors, and soon after, found herself in the hospital, immobile, with multiple broken bones, cuts, and bruises.  The demands of running a boutique, especially trying to grow a fairly new operation, took too much out of her.  That's when Madi, a college student and friend of Laura's, offered to look over the store and manage day-to-day operations while Laura recovered.  Madi has been there ever since, and the two women have learned what it means to truly have someone's back and be there for a friend.  With Laura's guidance and Madi's input, the store has thrived.  Their artistic vision and creative, out-of-the-box ideas come together in a storefront that is inviting and most of all, FUN. 

Although not quick to admit it, Madi is also a gifted artist - some of her pieces are available in the boutique.

Twisted Sisters is the exclusive local retailer of Vanessa Mooney jewelry and is also proud to carry BuddyLove women's clothing, Kensie jeans, a wide selection of silver and turquoise jewelry, and one-of-a-kind rustic furniture pieces.

As the Twisted Sisters girls like to remind their shoppers: Forget the rules. If you like it, wear it. 

Don't be afraid to be yourself and push the envelope when it comes to fashion!

TS owner Laura, left, with Madi.

Shop the store in downtown San Angelo or online via the boutique's Facebook and Instagram pages.

Gypsy Trunk

If you're needing outfit inspiration to look your best for a Christmas get-together or a New Years Eve celebration, you're in luck today. We stopped by Gypsy Trunk in San Angelo to get inspired with some unique holiday ensembles.  Jana, the owner, and her right hand woman, Liz, pulled some fabulous one-of-a-kind pieces for the mannequins to model as we shopped, sipped mimosas, and visited at their Christmas open house. If only every Saturday morning could go like that! 

Jana and Liz describe Gypsy Trunk's style profile as timeless, classic, and where you go to find a statement piece.  That statement factor is what motivates Gypsy Trunk's mission for Jana.  "I almost consider it a failure if someone doesn't stop me and ask, 'Where did you get that?' when I'm wearing something from the store," she says.  Gypsy Trunk opened in November 2010 and moved to its current location in San Angelo's Concho Crossing retail center in 2012.  They are proud to be San Angelo's exclusive boutique carrier of Seven for All Mankind denim; Virgins, Saints & Angels jewelry; and Show Me Your Mumu.    

Left: Gentle Fawn blouse, 7FAM leopard jeans, VSA jewelry, Passions fringe boots

Right: Nikibiki red shell, 7FAM mid-rise dark skinnies, VSA jewelry, Mystree faux snakeskin jacket, Passions laser-cut booties

Left: GXF sequin party dress, Milla blazer, Toms wedge booties, VSA jewelry

Right: Inluv floral tunic, Nikibiki charcoal gray leggings, Nature Breeze fringe boots

Left: Nikibiki taupe undershirt, InStyle chambray top, 7FAM colored skinnies, Gypsy turquoise pendant, Selfie Couture aztec fringe sweater, Very Volatile suede booties

Right: Ciel sage peasant top, By Together lace tunic, 7FAM Dojo wide leg jeans, West Coast Cowgirl jewelry, SOS leopard booties

What great outfit options for so many different occasions, from from elegant to casual.  The Gypsy jewelry line is a new addition to the store that Jana and Liz are excited to offer.  The bold, unforgettable turquoise pieces (seen on the left outfit above) are sourced from a mine in Turkey, handcrafted by a female entrepreneur, and can spark a conversation, adding a pop to any outfit. 

 Gypsy Trunk really does offer something for every style, while still holding true to that distinctive Texas flair. This place has been one of our favorite places to shop for years and is always worth the stop.  Their store is both inviting and inspiring, with an eclectic mix that perfectly captures western, funky, yet timeless vibes.  To shop the looks shown here and see the boutique's other exclusive lines, visit Gypsy Trunk's Facebook or Instagram pages, or visit their storefront in downtown San Angelo.  

J. Moore Outdoor

As today's featured artist will surely tell you, it's amazing what a difference a year can make.  After a trip to Yellowstone National Park spurred his interest in outdoor photography, Jordan Moore has spent the past year improving his skills and capturing the beauty surrounding him right here in his home state.  In just one year, his casual hobby has turned into an endeavor quickly gaining a following, and deservedly so.  Jordan has a knack for being in the right place at the right time, camera in hand, and knowing how to perfectly capture the scene.  Photography has given him a greater appreciation for the beauty of God's creation, he says.  He has photographed both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, but as is evident in the images below, his native Texas can offer landscapes just as breathtaking.

Leaning Bluff, Colorado Bend State Park

Buck in Hill Country Creek

View of Sierra del Carmen from Big Bend

Cypress Trees on Blanco River, Wimberley

Lost Mine Trail, Big Bend National Park

Sunrise Over the Chisos Mountains, Mule Ears Peaks, Big Bend

Pedernales Falls State Park

Night Sky, Big Bend

Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend

Sonoran Gopher Snake, Big Bend

The Window, Big Bend

West Texas Windmill

After family and close friends encouraged him to share his images on social media and he received an overwhelmingly positive response, Jordan realized that photography might also be able to aid in a personal struggle.  He and his wife, Erin, have battled infertility for two years, enduring the pain of both medical procedures and heartbreak along the way.  While Jordan and Erin are open to the possibility of adopting a child in the future, the costs of adoption are extremely high.  Jordan does not plan to pursue photography as a career, but any supplemental income that his images can provide will go toward the Moores' journey to become parents.  Jordan has individual prints as well as a beautiful 2015 calendar available on his outdoor photography website.  

Follow J. Moore Outdoor on Facebook to see new images as they become available.  Jordan's captions for each one are a testament to his strong faith, appreciation for the land around him, and his trust in God to always provide, in spite of our circumstances.

"One year of looking through the lens of a camera led me to see more beauty of the cosmos than in all of the other 24 years of my life combined." -J. Moore