TLDR – here’s how you can help Houston during this time of tragedy.

I’ll admit, this has been a really hard post for me to write.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I opened this to get to writing, but found I haven’t had the words to say.


I’m just going to write vulnerably. And hopefully it all comes together.

For those who may or may not know, I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. It is one of my all time favourite cities, but more importantly, it is home.

I lived there for about 20-something years before I moved to Dallas for three years & later found my way to California, where I am to this day.

I went to University of Houston for college, and was a member of the Houston Delta Gamma chapter. After I moved from the sorority house my senior year of college, I moved to the Montrose area, which I loved so much.

When I was 20, I really started to grasp my passion for food and wine. I was very hungry. I threw myself in the Houston food and beverage world, very intimidated but eager… & much to my surprise, I was welcomed with open arms. In fact, writing this with a straight face is very hard for me. I knew this post would be though.

One of my most fond memories of Houston was volunteering for the Midtown Farmer’s Market every single Saturday when I was 22/23 in 2009/2010. Fom 6:00a – 12:00p, I’d help sell local produce brought in by a variety of Texas farmers among the other vendors. Some sold breads, some sold coffee, some sold chocolates. It was in a restaurant in Midtown, so I’d also help out a bit in the kitchen.

It’s where I really learned what was in season, it’s where I learned the importance of shopping local, it’s where I learned why you should support small businesses, it’s where I had a persimmon for the first time {i know this sounds silly but it was a special memory – to this day, it’s one of my favourite fruits}, it’s where I met a lot of chefs & those in the industry… but more importantly? It was my first taste of the community of Houston.

I met so many people there – from farmers to chefs to sommeliers to other Houstonians just looking to shop fresh and support local businesses. It’s a place where I could hear their stories, where they would share their recipes with me, & something I truly enjoyed.

I should also mention that during this time, I was working in restaurants. SO- that meant every single Saturday, I’d work at the Farmer’s Market until 12:00p {for free, btw – I ended up making a small amount of money after a while but that was never the intention} and then go to work from about 3:00p – 12:00a on an early night or 3:00a on a late night.

But I didn’t care.

I loved it.

I loved it so much and it was something I spent all week looking forward to. I vividly remember to this day driving down Montrose in my car in the dark at the crack of dawn Saturday morning to get there so excited.

Anyways, my point with this story is Houston is a city of love. It’s a city that I loved, & that love was requited. It was a city with so much to offer, but a stronger community.

One thing I’ve never told anyone is that my biggest regret in life was leaving Houston in 2010 for Dallas. It’s a regret I will never get over and remains heavy on my heart. I left a city that I loved & it loved me back unconditionally for one that all it did was burn me. Granted, in Dallas’s defense, it’s hard for you to be loved by someone when you are so in love with someone else.

My first night in Dallas in July 2010, I cried myself to sleep because I knew instantly I made the wrong decision. I told myself that change was uncomfortable yet necessary and it would only leave me stronger. I was 100% wrong & it left me the complete opposite. I forced myself to masochistically love it, but I couldn’t get over my love, Houston… basically the makings of a toxic relationship.

Houston has a community like no other. In fact, there are plenty in my network who left Houston only to return & with each passing day, I could understand why.

It is a very welcoming city with one of the strongest support systems around. When Erik & I had to go for a wedding a few months ago, I was SO excited to show him Houston. He left with a newfound love for the city and we were both so excited to return about two weeks ago.

Unbeknownst to us, it was the last time I’d ever see Houston the way I remember it. We went back to San Francisco & four days later, Hurricane Harvey hit.

I remember ignorantly thinking the weekend as it was raining that it will be like all the other hurricane warnings Houston gets. I was also so tonedeafly pre-occupied with getting ready to go to Europe, dealing with my torn calf, & getting my blog up and running.

I checked Instagram Sunday night & saw my old sorority house flooding. That was hard, but I prayed that was the worst of it. I launched my site, went to bed, & at 4am in the morning, went to the airport with Erik.

By the time we landed in Amsterdam, I realized I was dead wrong. I found myself glued to my phone and  Facebook as I basically watched live my hometown slowly drown. I saw a picture of my old apartment complex on Allen Parkway completely flooded. Worse, the people of Houston I loved so much, I saw them post statuses in need of help: Whether they lost their car or the water was rising by the foot in their home & needed immediate rescue. I saw friends & acquaintances lose everything and I’ve never felt so helpless or so far from home.

Social Media is a funny thing. It’s something many have mixed opinions on. Sure, people get frustrated at others for “living for the ‘gram” or being addicted to it, but it is one of the most powerful tools we have at our fingertips to connect with people at any given time. For better of for worse.

Through social media, I saw Houstonians bond together in a gigantic way. Through social media, people were rescued, people volunteered, people donated, people provided shelter to other Houstonians {some that they didn’t even know until Harvey}, people would give addresses & someone would come with a boat…. stranger to stranger brought together through social media.

Through the online platform that is social media, Houston made a major impact. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that social media saved many lives. That’s how so very powerful it is.

As a blogger, I have a similar online platform to provide awareness and share my stories. That said, I want to announce a very important new addition to my blog.

If you look in the top menu at the right, there is a new section called #HOUSTONSTRONG. This is a permanent addition to my blog. It’s a resource guide on how you can help those in Houston at any given time.

Houston is strong, and us Texans sure are a force to be reckoned with…. but that said, Houston still needs your help.

There isn’t an easy fix. There isn’t a quick fix. Houston is on a very long road to recovery – there is no way to sugar coat it. Houston may be a little broken right now, but trust me, that community? It’s stronger than ever.

You can find my #HOUSTONSTRONG page here.

I will be updating this constantly SO if you have any other causes I should add, let me know either in the comments or e-mail: shannon@essellesse.com

>> If you are a business donating profits to a relief fund, please let me know.

>> If you know of other causes or links that really need help – even if it’s a personal one, please let me know.

>> If you know of any other ways to help whether in Houston or not in Houston, please let me know.

>> If you have a cause of your own in regards to Houston & Harvey, please let me know.

The more the better.

Houston will rebuild, but Houston needs your help.

That’s all I have for today.

Hug your loved ones, hug your pets, and appreciate everything you may have. Another reminder that time takes while it gives.

Thank you so much for reading,



  • thank g san francisco is such a photogenic city bc i have no idea what i’m doing w my film camera lol 👩🏻‍🔬 #slssf
  • had a blast at the @skyyvodka pool party this weekend 🌴🍉💦 but now my social quota for the month is used up so back to work 📠 #introvertlife #proudlyamerican #skyyvodka #borninsf
  • ready for the weekend & thinking of sewing some shoulder pads in this shirt... but first I guess I gotta learn how to sew? ⚜️ #slsootd #80sstyle
  • One of my fav sweatshirts from Harajuku 🎀 cute right?! 💕 Also answered a ton of questions in my story if you wanna take a gander: fitness, instagram, blogging realness, & more 💬 #slsootd #harajuku #imissjapan
  • it’s been a hot minute but back at it with the #winewednesday 🍷 this wine we got a few cases of after a sick deal at @btlbarn & it has been a favourite go to red of ours. Whenever we don’t know wtf to drink, this red blend is what we’ve been opening and it’s never failed us.
@ROTHWINES 2015 HERITAGE RED, SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA {$25ish} :: not only do we love this wine, but it’s one we’d give to guests {big fan of party favours for all guests over here} and they all loved it too! Super juicy & ripe with robust tannins! It’s a blend of 51% Syrah with some Petite Sirah, Zin, Cab, Merlot, Malbec, & Petite Verdot. Bold AF with leather, tobacco, juicy berries, & black pepper and those sexy tannins lend a nice velvety mouthfeel.
We’ve been enjoying it outside with the grill! We’ve had it with grilled steaks, burgers, & even grilled pizza! It would go awesome with some lamb or charcuterie too.
We got ours at Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa! Def give it a taste if you see it at your local wine shop. Any go to reds you’re digging these days?! LMK! x ❤️ #trustmeimasomm
  • Talking BRAZILIAN SKINCARE on the blog! I interviewed the founder of @brzlnskin to share all the secrets {& we touch briefly on Botox too which you guys know I’m not a huge fan of}. Check it out on SLS 🌟link in bio! PS - the BRATOXINSTA serum is lifechanging! Thanks so much for sending it to me, @brzlnskin ✨ #skincare #antiaging #ontheblog
  • this @dior blazer from the 1980s is easily my fav thing in my closet rn ⚜️ I’m selling the skirt it came w for super inexpensive since I never wear skirts. All the info/pics are in my stories! 💸 #dior #80sfashion #slsootd

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