Texas: San Antonio: Open Downtown Pop Up Shops

The holiday season is here! 

Thanksgivings is nearly here already and for San Antonio, that means tourism kicks into high gear. Since this is “military city,” a lot of families have their out-of-town relatives visiting. What is there to do besides see the Alamo and Riverwalk? Well, you don’t have to go too far. Take a stroll through La Villita Historic Arts Village and discover some of Open Downtown Pop Up Shops!

Last month, I got to join a champagne stroll and scavenger hunt through some of the shops, for some San Antonio Bloggers. I fell in love with all the shops I visited! Now there are some shops outside of La Villita, but they are all pretty much walking distance from each other.

We started at Zelle Boutique, which is a ladies fashion boutique. I’ve already gone back to their shop and purchased a few things from their beautiful selections. Of course, since purple is my favorite color, the purple lenses and gold metal sunglasses are my favorite accessory! Oh this dress, has been my favorite fall dress. 

Capistrano Soap Company was the next stop on the list and they are amazing! Soaps, lotions, candles, and bath everything. Their Acequia Nourishment Lotion has made my skin so soft. I got the Granada fragrance: Citrus, Herbs & Tobacco which they say, “made for men, loved by women.” Oops! Oh well I really do love the scent. My favorite product is their Coffee Bar Scrubs! As some of y’all may have read in my previous posts, I have very sensitive skin. No more breakout inflammation fear for me thanks to these goodies! Actually Capistrano Soap Company was a pop up shop now turned permanent shop. Hip-hip-hooray! 


Most of y’all also know how much I love fiesta! So much so that my Austin going away party was fiesta themed. Well, Bird and Pear has become my home inspiration! Jewelry, cosies, pillows, chairs in vibrant Mexican dress embroidery. Looking around the shop they seem to have it all and they even do custom orders. I can’t wait to fill my next place with their decor. 


B.Link! I was so excited to see all the Texas jewelry. Brandy is the designer of all the fabulous trinkets in her shop. Since my logo has an actual Texas charm on it, I was happy to hear she can make custom pieces. I picked up this turquoise bracelet with my initial. She also has the prettiest cozy scarfs too.


Indigo Makers Collective was our last stop and they house local designers/makers beautiful pieces and collections. How pretty are these jewelry pieces? 


So these are the shops that are currently in the Open Downtown Pop Ups Shops. If you’re playing tour guide during the holidays and want to show your loved ones something other than the typical tourists shops, support our local small businesses and go check them out. The Saturday after Thanksgiving is Shop Small Business Saturday, what a perfect way to spend the day. 

10 Tips to a fun filled trip to the State Fair of Texas

It’s here! State Fair of Texas. Last year I was my first year going to the State Fair and I was excited and stressed. Woke up super early to go for a run. Found a breakfast place in Frisco and started my adventure. Here’s my guide to getting to, in and through the State Fair of Texas with ease. We just want to chow down and have a good time right? 





1. Tickets: buy your tickets online ahead of time! If you’re planning on going more at least 2 days the season passes packages are so worth it!

2. Accommodation: where to stay? Last year we had 2 options stay somewhere super pricey that’s close by or stay far and save money. We chose the second option and we saved more.

3. Transportation: take the DART train!!!! We stayed in Frisco so it was a 15 minute drive to the closest train station but parking way free and it was $5 for a day pass. An hour ride straight to the fair. No paying for parking or traffic troubles and we got to plan our first rounds while on the train.

4. Plan: maps and vendors can be found online! So we glanced at the mouth watering eats we wanted to try and mapped out a game plan. The Fried Carrot Cake was first on our list.

5. Have fun: some lines are long somethings get pricey so don’t stress. Savory your bites and sips and be flexible. Not everything you do has to follow your game plan. Think of them as guidelines. I stresses out and got hAngry when we weren’t leaving on time or if lines were long. Thankfully, Quang, was quick to find food or an alternate route or show to calm my snapchats. 

6. Layer: Dallas is Northern Texas so the weather starts cooling down pretty fast, but it’s still Texas. Last year I got sunburned and a cold in the same weekend.

 

7. Hydrate:- you will do a lot of walking so be sure to keep hydrated with plenty of water. 

8. Cash: take cash! It makes buying coupons so much simpler and faster. 

9. Shoes: wear comfy shoes! You’re going to do so much walking and you’ll want to have your comfiest shoes. I wore my boots the first day and squishy blue boat shoes the next. 

10. Watch: sit down and watch the shows or listen to the music at night. Last year we saw a fun piggy race, Kevin Fowler, and The Beach Boys! 

Little Acts of Kindness, Great Miracles 

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” -Albert Einstein 

As I am starting to pack up my Austin life and prepare to move back to San Antonio, I can’t thank God enough for this miracle. Last night, while packing a few things, I was watching the movie, Miracles From Heaven. Oh man, I sure did cry my eyes out watching this movie! Every once in a while I’ve gotten pretty personal in my writings for y’all. So I’m just going to dive right in.

I’ve also been the type of person that tries to see everything as though it were a miracle, blessing, the brighter side of things, the beauty of life. Why? Because there’s already so much terrible sadness darkness, and negativity out there. I’ve seen it consume loved ones and turn them cold and hateful with everything. 

There are tragedies, recent and in the past that can’t be sugar coated. People lives cut short, caught in the crossfire of hate. Turn on the news and it’s another terrorist attack, police brutality, or even police being attacked. Why? Because again people get consumed and obsess over the hate with rage and try to instill it in others. Disrupting peace, acceptance, and ultimately taking away a someone’s life. 

I’ve experienced the good and bad spectrum of police. I’ve written about the nightmare of 10 years of living with a cops as a step-father. It blows my mind that 10 years later he’s even more racist, deceitful, hateful and manipulative with his own children. My heartbreaks for my Mom and my Brother and Sisters. I would think after 10 years, a decade has passed since my mom and her ex-husband divorced, my brother now an adult starting his career, and my sisters in high school, their dad would find so peace, but 10 years later we’re back in court. 

When I was in high school there was an incident with tourists brutally beaten, when my brother and sisters’s dad was still a police officer. I remember hearing him and his partner strategically writing their reports to put all fault on the victims. The crazy thing, he was only excited to be on the news, even though it was bad national publicity. So yes, I know some police officers abuse their badges, but there are just as many, if not more good officers. 

Like the officers that helped my mom and I when we needed to be protected. The officers that have pulled over, and helped with a flat tire change in the rain. Most are truly caring and good. 

Towards the end of Miracles From Heaven, they reveal a bunch of little acts of kinds that helped this family with a very ill daughter. I can’t help but be incredibly great full for the time I’ve spent and family of friends I’ve made in Austin. 

Friends that take the time to see how my family and are doing. Strangers that have helped me with car troubles. Friends that have helped me with car troubles. Yes, I have a lot of car troubles, which is probably why my dad is my dad and thank God he’s also a mechanic. People that support and encourage me to keep my head up. Most of the time I am super stressed with work, my car, my family and trying to get this move going but if I dwelled on all the stressful things I’d be miserable! You never know, your little act of kindness, can be a great miracle for someone else.

Texas Texas: Don Chelada Micheladas 

Oh sweet summertime! Anyone else love sitting by the pool with a delicious michelada?

Back at the beginning of summer, a friend of mine had a pool party to celebrate Cinco De Mayo. We grilled some fajitas, and had some tequila, but the highlight of our day was some Don Chelada Micheladas!  

The Texas based company, sent me some of their products for taste testing. So of course I love trying Texas made goodies! I decided to take it all to that Cinco De Mayo Celebration and they were a delicious hit. The cups are so easy and convenient to use. Just open, take out the dry mix package, pour in 24oz of your beer of choice (we used Dos XX and Lonestar,) then stir in the dry mix and it’s ready to drink up and enjoy. The styro cups come in three different flavors: Original, Spicy, and my favorite is Lemon Lime. Oh and pardon my drool, the rims of the cups are already moist and covered with a tangy chile powder salt, that’s lip puckering delicioso!

Now they also have a mouth watering ready-made bottle Michelada mix. Since we were at the pool, I decided to hollow out a few pineapples into giant cups. Flip them over, to salt the rim with a chile lime seasoning. Then filled with ice 6 oz of Don Chelada Michelada mix, and poured in 24 oz of Dos XX. Last, squeezed half a small lime inside, stir and let sit for about 10 minutes. Pineapple bliss in every sip.

Amazing mix and cups. My friends and I can’t wait to order more summer river floating trips! You find more information about where to find or how to order their cups and mix on the Don Chelada website. 

Spurs Fan Fashion

It’s NBA playoffs time, so that means I’m usually reppin the Spurs pretty much every day. How can I do that every day you ask? By getting creative and mixing and matching all the tops and bottoms below! A big thanks to R.G. TZ & Tanks for creating my favorite fiesta colored Spurs shirts with the San Antonio city Skyline!

mix & match

twinkies with your pals

Southtown run around

glam it up for brunch at The Historic Pearl

a little something extra

office Spurs fun

Texas Forever

Championshion Riverwalk run


shopping and errands

Taste Texas: Austin: Lamberts Downtown BBQ: Sunday Brunch edition 

Sunday brunch plans in Austin? One of my favorite brunches to splurge on is Lamberts Downtown BBQ! Texas BBQ Sunday brunch dreams do come true! 

  

For my birthday, this year, I asked a few friends to join me for brunch at Lamberts. I made reservations and they had our table ready when we arrived. It was right after mass so mostly everyone was running late. 

  

We sat down and looked over the menu and decided to order some mimosas and wait for the others. I thought we could order from the single plates from the menu and opt out of the buffet. Turned out that was not the case. $40 brunch buffet for each person that would be eating. Ouch kind of pricey. Good thing mimosas were about $3. 

  

Well it was definitely worth it! We got to try everything and it was all mouth watering delicious. They have sides, jicama and cilantro slaw, house smoked gravlox salmon, cheddar and roasted poblano grits and so much more. The deviled eggs were amazing and I don’t even like deviled eggs. 

  

You can get freshly sliced, brown sugar & coffee rubbed brisket, and Coriander and maple crusted Berkshire pork ribs, roasted garlic & rosemary prime ribs from the butcher block. Don’t forget to grab a big scoop of my favorite, Lamberts baked mac & cheese. Those are just the get up and fill your plate yourself options. There’s still more on the menu!

  

The second half of the menu needs to be ordered from the kitchen and it is divine! My first choice is the breakfast Frito pie, chopped beef, queso, chèvre, pico de gallo, and a poached egg! How can anyone say no to that? There’s a few different omelettes, eggs Benedict, hash, and biscuits and gravy variations. If you have a group of people I recommend ordering at least one of each and trying a few bites. 

  

 
Mostly everything is juicy and savory, but what about sweets? The Brioche French Toast with its strawberry butter is also a must. Ladies wear a loosely fitted dress, because there’s still a dessert table, and you’ll want to have room for all those as well! 

  

  

Zilker Kite Festival: 5 Tips for a flying good time

Who doesn’t love to fly kites? I used to always get mine caught in my grandma’s trees. Now Zilker, with it’s wide open field, it’s perfect for a kite flying good time. Last year was my first year attending. The 2014 festival ended up being cancelled due to bad weather conditions, so I was super excited to it wasn’t canceled last year. However, the weather was super cold and drizzly. Oh well, I made the most of it and still had a blast. Since the weather is supposed to even better this year, I put together a few tips to help y’all avoid any headaches and have as much fun as possible! 
  

1. Walk, run, bike, Lyft, Uber try them all. I highly don’t recommend driving and trying to find parking, especially with all the construction on South Lamar and Mopac. Save yourself the headache and enjoy the day.

  

2. No kite, no problem! Last year I got a little stressed out looking for a decent priced kite. Since I live in the Zilker neighborhood I went to stores nearby and kites were so expensive! I ended up finding this little gem at Hobby Lobby for about $12. Anyway, check out their DIY kite resources or get there early and a lot of vendors have supplies. Follow their quick simple instructions and watch your kite sore! Their kites flew way better than mine, that I ended up making one too.
  

3. Look down. Hahaha it’s so hard to take your eyes off the beautiful site, but don’t forget to look down and around you every once in awhile to avoid tripping over or getting tangled up with your fellow kite watchers.

  

4. Cash or plastic. Food trucks and vendors everywhere. Most are equipped with technology to process your cards, but occasionally some may have technical difficulties. So I reccomend taking at least $10 cash with you.

  

5. Stay cozy. Take a light blanket for sitting or for bundling up, if the weather ends up being cold like last year.  

  

Most of all have FUN! 

Target Gift Card Giveaway

It’s not Target Tuesday but I couldn’t wait to show y’all a couple of the Holiday festive finds I brought home the other day.  And I have a $200 Target Gift Card Giveaway going on…details are on the Target Gift Card Giveaway page above or here

1. Ugly sweater kit:

This is awesome! turned a $4 sweater from Savers to the best ugly Christmas sweater! I actually won the ugly Christmas sweater contest at work.

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2. Christmas Pajamas:

Need I say more? Every year my cousin and I exchange Christmas pajamas or slippers, so this was perfect! Even got some extra for myself!

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3. Doggy Christmas sweaters:

What’s more festive than a month tacky ugly Christmas Sweater? A doggy Christmas sweater! Oh my heart melts! Here Targer take my money!!

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Holiday Feasting:  Bacon, Pecans, & Blue Cheese Green Beans

Howdy y’all

First up on my Holdiay Feasting series of blog recipes is my favorite way to enjoy green beans. A few years ago I played around with a few recipes for green beans casseroles and created this deliciousness treat that has now become a traditional dish with my family. Seriously, bacon, pecans, and blue cheese! I had myself at bacon! This recipe is simple and relatively quick leaving more time for other recipes or the reason for this joyous holiday. Celebrating all that we are thankful for with our loved ones. 

Ingredients:

– 1 lb fresh green beans 

– 4 slices of bacon 

– 3/4 cup of blue cheese crumbles 

– 1/3 cup chopped pecans

– 2 cups of ice

Directions: 

  • Chop stems of green beans
  • Boil green beans
  • Fry bacon to extra crispy 
  • Drain green beans and shock in ice bath until completely cooled
  • Drain green beans and pat dry
  • Toss in pan with bacon grease 
  • Add blue cheese crumbles and allow to melt
  • Last stir in chopped pecans and bacon

Quick, simple, and delicious. 

 
 
 
   
  

Enjoy, 

Sydney Charming 

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2015: A #BrosBeingBasic ACL Survival Guide

You read that title right! Yep. I’ve been attending the music festival for the past few years. Since I’ve moved to Austin and live just about a mile from Zilker, I usually have friends stay with me. It’s usually some of my guy friends, cause they don’t mind crashing on the couch with my dog.


Well I’ve always prided myself on being a little unique, and definitely dance to the beat of my own heart. Never really thought I’d fall into a basic category and same with my friends. I was even bold enough to purchase this sweater and couldn’t wait until cooler weather to wear it.

Turns out I have a nothing but #BrosBeingBasic friends! (Smh! This sweater is now going up for sale.) Here’s our guide to surviving ACL ..

You’re in Austin, Texas! Start the day with Brunch!!


Don’t forget the main point of brunch…Mimosas! Everyone order different flavors so you can try all of them. Sip, Sip, Pass.


Ask for straws because betches love straws


If you don’t Snapchat it, it didn’t happen


Group photo Cheers!


Mouth open/more surprised face Selfies before chugging to get to ACL


OMG! Instagram tiny adorable desserts with a surprised expression


Essentials: Wristband ticket, Flower crowns, Flash Tattoos, Phone, Portable Charges, Trendy Sunblock, Eco-Friendly Water bottle, Sunnies, cute comfyshoes (ditch those boots with wedges or heels you know you’re going to be in those all day and will end up taking them off then step in puke…now that’s not basic that’s just rachet), and cute or vintage but probably new backpack.


Check for new Snap Chat filters upon arrival…”Selfie…ready strike a pose”


Scope out the perfect Insta pic and #NoFilter


#Squad Before photo


You can never have enough Flash Tatts!!!!


Facebook Check-in


Oh yeah if you have time between selfies listen to a band


If you don’t wear a flower crown don’t forget your fall colored felt floppy hat


Listen to that band that plays your favorite song on the radio. (Walk The Moon)


Wait about an hour for this spectacular gigantic frame to take the perfect iconic ACL Fest picture #FeelTheGoodVibes


Take selfies while you’re board waiting for the Headliners to start


Sing-a-long at the top of your lungs between chugging on your craft beer


Don’t separate from your friends, because when those brunch mimosas and dehydration kicks in, and let’s be honest, ‘pacing yourself’ went out the door after the first mimosa, they’ll be there to take pictures #canthang #basic

Good Luck,

Sydney Charming and #BrosBeingBasic