Texas: Martindale: Don’s Fish Camp & Lockhart: Black’s BBQ

It's just about the end of July and we're just starting to get into those sweltering hot Texas summer day in Central Texas. My favorite way to beat the heat is a nice toobin' float down the river. Which river? The San Marcos River. Don's Fish camp is my favorite place to go. Even though it's the San Marcos River, technically it's in Martindale, Texas.


Don's used to be know as the $5 spot. A nice relatively smooth float away from the popular New Braunfels, Comal and Guadalupe River floats. A few years ago a New Braunfels had the can ban, Don's had a huge influx of traffic. After arriving, it could take about two hours before you stepped a foot in the river. There's was a waiting line to get on property, a line to buy your bus ride and tube rental, and another line to get on the bus.

Now the process is quick and smooth. Upon entering your directed to a car line. At the front of the line you'll pay for your bus ride, tube rentals, camping spot, etc. There is staff directing you to parking spots and then a short walk to the bus pick up. One of my favorite reasons to float at Don's is because you end where you park. No long waits for a bus to take you back to the parking lot.


The beautiful water is nice and cool. Perfect to beat the heat during these scoring hot Texas summer days. The float down the San Marcos River is perfect, smooth with a few fun small rapids. (Very calm compared to the Guadalupe River.) Of course the crowd gets pretty friendly the further down river you get.


I prefer water and and light sweet adult beverage over beer. Most people love to float and drink beer but I get full really easily. My go to this summer has been Mighty Swell from Austin, Texas. These sparkling cocktails come in Peach, Lemon, Mango and my favorite, Grapefruit. So refreshing and delicious to sip on a hot summer day. They are made real fruit juice, pure sugar cane and premium ingredients, which helps with not getting dehydrated so quickly.

Since most of the people I've floated with prefer beer, we've done a good job of supporting local Texas companies. Austin Beersworks: Pearl Snap and Pedernalas Brewing Company's Robert Earl Keen Honey Pils. (Always have a designated driver!)

Now, you sure do work up an appetite, since most floats are at least three hours. Perks of floating in Martindale, you're less than 20 minutes from Lockhart. Where you'll find a trail of some of the best BBQ Texas has.


Last time we chowed down at Black's Barbecue. Juicy Brisket, turkey and pork ribs. The meat just perfectly fell right off the bones. Mhmm! Pardon my drool. All is right in the world for a Texans when side dishes include all your southern comfort favorite: beans, buttered green beans, potato salad and mac & cheese.

Floating down the San Marcos River is one my favorite ways to beat the summer heat. Followed by a mouth water plate of BBQ. What are your favorites ways to keep cool in this scoring summer days?

Xoxo,

Sydney Charming

Tx Road Trip| Waco| Magnolia Market and Garden at the Silos

Waco, Texas! A few years ago I would have driven straight through and not give a second thought about stopping. Now, thanks to this visit and the Magnolia Market at the Silos, I can’t wait to go back.

It was a Tuesday, during the last week of March, that we were heading back to Austin from our camping trip in Glen Rose. A few days of exploring dino tracks at Dinosaur Valley State Park had us still eager to explore around Central Texas. I mentioned to Kyle I was interested in checking out the Magnolia Market at the Silos some day. Well, he surprised me and mapped it out for our drive back. 


From Glen Rose to Waco it was only about an hour and a half drive. Kyle actually went to Baylor and his brother lives there, so we had a full day ahead of us. I didn’t think it would be too busy since it was a Tuesday and we arrived around noon. I sure was wrong! It was so crowded. So many out-of-state spring breakers everywhere. I think I waited about half an hour just to use the bathroom. But the entire staff was super friendly, with warm Texas Hospitality.

The crowd was a bit overwhelming in the market but nothing a little walk around the gorgeous outdoor space couldn’t cure. I ventured into the beautiful garden. Found myself a cute little succulent for my work desk in the Magnolia Seed and Supply shop. I thought I was doing good job with keeping it alive until recently. (Just last week I finally attempted to repot it but now my poor little plant is starting to wilt over.)


 
Now that I had my little succulent, I went back into the market to find something to put it in. So many pretty vases and jars to pick from. Can you guess what I ended up with? A giant coffee mug! I loved that it had Magnolia Market +Garden| Waco TX on it. Perfect souvenir and holder for my attempt at being a Plant Lady. The checkout process was well organized and went pretty quickly. 

It had been at least two hours since my last snack, so I was starting to get hungry again. This trip was still during Lent and I had given up pastries. No pastries, meant skipping the bakery. All the delicious scents from the food trucks were calling my name. My mouth watered and I knew exactly what my snack would be as soon as I read it. Truffle Shuffle Fries from Milo Biscuit Company. Hand cut fries, parmasen, truffle, fresh herbs.” Lick the bowl and your finger (if they were clean) good! 

Fries in hand, I was ready to tour around Baylor and see this band nerd’s old stomping grounds. Did you know they actually have bears at Baylor? I knew bears are their mascot, but I had no idea there is actually a habit for them on campus. Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat. From what I learned, there has been a lot of renovation and expansions the few years. It’s a beautiful campus and I can’t wait to go back for the UTSA vs Baylor football game in September. 

Our last stop was Shorty’s Pizza Shack

Less than a mile from campus, this scrumptious place definitely has their Baylor Bears pride on point. Hardly a surface without green and yellow Baylor memorabilia hung and framed every where. But enough about the scenery, let’s get to the good stuff. The pizza! They have daily specials and happy hour. (We happened to be just in time for both.) “Tuesday: All specialty 18″ pies for 14″ prices.” “2$ Margaritas & Sangrias,” one of each please and thank you. We ended picking the Hawaiian: “Aloha! Canadian bacon and juicy pineapple.” Oh my, it sure was tasty. Delicious crust, perfect balance of sauce and cheese. We devoured that pizza! 

Now that I’ve binge watched a few seasons of Fixer Upper, and follow all their Magnolia social media, and started exploring Waco, I am so excited to go back. I want to try all of the food trucks, (maybe not all in one trip) the bakery, and pick up some home decorations. A lot more to discover than I thought. Can’t wait for my next Waco, Texas road trip.

XOXO,
Sydney Charming 

TX Road Trip|Glen Rose|Dinosaur Valley State Park

Summer is officially here and I’ve got a fun Texas camping road trip for you. On an early spring Sunday morning after church, we loaded the truck up with camping gear and headed out to Dinosaur Valley State Park!

From North Austin, we took a beautiful Texas scenic drive on 183 to 281 to Hico. Oh my yummy goodness! During the holidays, Kyle brought me the most delicious mocha crunch from his favorite chocolate shop, Wiseman House Chocolates. Since it was on the was to Glen Rose we had to make a stop.

It’s the quaintest chocolate house shop I’ve ever seen. As their website says, “Welcome to Chocolate Heaven.” Every room filled with different chocolate treats and gifts. Toffees, truffles, melts, crunches, and a variety of chocolate covered goodness. They have it all and there’s samples of everything. Since I’ve had their mocha crunch before, I decided to try some other treats. I left with the peanut butter meltaways, dark chocolate and pecan fudge, and toffee trio of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and almond toffee. All handmade, rich flavor chocolate, I can’t wait to go back.


Now that our tummies were happily filled with chocolate, we got back on the road. Actually, it was only a 30 minute drive from Hico to Glen Rose. And queue Jurassic Park theme music because we had arrived at Dinosaur Valley State Park. I literally started playing the theme music as we entered the park.

Checked in and got to pick out our camping spot, between the bathrooms and a hiking trail. We started unloading the truck and pitched our tent. There was dark clouds and rumbles of thunder in the far distance but we checked the weather before we left and it was only supposed to rain for about an hour.

Just as we finished setting up the tent, a park ranger came by and asked if we were packing up and head out. He told us there was a tornado warning for the area, and  that it might pass us with 60 miles per hour winds. So Kyle quickly took down most of the tent and put these weights in top, while I loaded everything non-waterproof back in the truck.

On the drive there Kyle said he was excited to be able to unplug and not have to use his phone. I said I wanted to just use mine to take pictures. Well, I had absolutely no signal and he had one bar of service in roaming. We managed to call his parents and have them check a weather radar and it looked like we were just going to have some rain for about 30 more minutes and that would be all of the storm we’d get.
A couple of hours had passed since our chocolate binge and hunger started to kick-in but the cooler with all our food was repacked in the back of the truck. I thought it was so funny that Kyle wanted to bring some of his MREs but they actually came in handy since we couldn’t start a fire in the rain. We sat in the truck, waited out the storm, and snacked on the MREs.

About an hour later, the storm seemed to have passed and we still had some time before the sun went completely down. We took a look at the map, and decided to try out the trail along the river, just behind our campsite. Wow! As we hiked down to walk along the river, we were both in awe of the beautiful scenery and we even saw a rainbow. What was literally a stormy start ended with a spectacular sunset.

Now sleeping was a different story. We thought we places the tent in a flat area but we definitely didn’t. I tried sleeping with my yoga mat under my sleeping bag, laying on top of my zipped up sleeping bag with another blanket and nope. Princess and the pea moment, the ground under the tent was sand and there way huge mound directly underneath me. Just as I started to fall asleep bright lights came through the tent from the campsite next to us.

It was 1 AM and they had just arrived and started setting up their tents. Eventually they finished and I fell back to sleep. A little bit later we had a visitor smack into our tent. It was an armadillo that ran into the side of our tent! Oh goodness that poor critter was more startled than us. I could hear it frantically scuffling around trying to get away.

Morning came and we woke up very sore from the uneven ground and cold. We made a fire and I had pre-made some breakfast egg muffins. Super simple and easy. I baked them in foil muffin cups and the cooler was so cold that they actually froze. All we had to do was heat them up over the campfire.


Breakfast egg muffin ingredients:

•scrambled eggs

•bacon

•hashbrowns

•cheese
After breakfast, we took a look at the map picked out a trail and set out to us some dinosaur tracks.

First, we attempted to start on the Blue Hole Trail. We got down to the limestone ledge the map mentions, but we must have passed a beehive on the way. The sweet coco butter scented Sunblock and highlighter pink t-shirt I had on must have attracted the bees. We couldn’t move without a bee trying land on both of us. So we ended up running towards the Horseshoe Equestrian Trail, and passing the Ballroom Track Site.

Eventually we back tracked to the Ballroom Track site and I’m so glad we did. There really are so many dino tracks in that area! As we looked around we started to see more, a lot of the tracks were covered with sediment that washed down the river bank from the rain. So much fun kicking around water and uncover tracks.

Lunch hangeries started kicking in and we headed back to our campsite. Lunch was quick and lite, sandwiches and pita chips and hummus. Now we both were a little sun drenched and decided to rest in the hammock. The campsite had plenty of great trees around to hang it up and relax.

After lounging around for a while we took a look at the trail map and decided to head on another hike. This time we crossed the river and hiked up the Cedar Ridge Trail to the Scenic Outlook. Along the trail there little spots you could catch a glimpse of the view, but the higher you hiked the greater the view. We took a moment to admire it but we had to get back on the trail to get back to our campsite before sunset.

Dinner was pretty quick to make since I pre-marinated and froze the chicken. All we had to do we start a camp fire, chop up some veggies and add them in the foil packet. Since we had rain the first night, I decided to also make the chicken pineapple skewers. Mhmm, what a delicious feast, but the best was still to come. S’mores of course! I like my marshmallows slightly burnt all around so the center is slightly gooey. Followed by some beautiful star gazing and a slightly cool night.

Our early bird friends had us awake before sunrise. One last campfire to heat up breakfast while packing up our campsites. Quick showers and we were ready to check out. It was a soggy Tuesday morning but all the empty campsites around us started filling up with new campers. The weather forecast showed that it would be a rainy day in that area. So we got on the road and headed to Waco to visit Kyle’s brother, Baylor, and of course Mangolia Silos! (But that’ll be in next week’s blog post)

So Dinosaur Valley State Park is a great place for tent camping even in the rain. Plenty of trails and dinosaur tracks to explore. Beautiful sights and relatively easy river access. I hope y’all enjoy it as much as we did.

XOXO,

Sydney Charming

Texas: San Antonio: Fiesta 101

Fiesta is my absolute favorite time of year in San Antonio, Texas! It’s a big tradition for the city, I’m 29 years old and I’ve been going to Fiesta for 29 years. I’ve had so many people ask me about Fiesta this year. I know it can be a bit overwhelming for a first timer. So I’ve complied a list of tips and tricks for having a blast!


1. Fiesta origins
: started in 1891 with the Battle of Flowers Parade to honor the fallen heroes of the Battle the Alamo and Battle of San Jacinto! Has grown bigger, into a party with a purpose every year since, with fundraisers for varies organizations for the city.

2. It’s a marathon, not a sprint! Pace yourself! You can find a calendar of events on the Fiesta website or even download the app to plan out the events you want to attend. Remember, Fiesta last 10 straight days in a row, just slightly shy of two week long with way too many events to attend all. Pick your favorites and maybe even one you’ve never been to before.

3. Collecting Fiesta medals is a thing!! Just about every participating organization and events has a unique Fiesta medal to sell and raise extra money for various scholarships, charities 

4. Fried chicken on a stick is also a fiesta food must. Yes, there’s a vast variety of food options, but chicken on a stick is a Fiesta food staple and the most sought out delicious item.

5. Hydrating with water is a must! (it’s a marathon, not a sprint) 

6. Fiesta tiaras will be everywhere
! (…flower crowns are similar, but this isn’t Coachella, tiaras usually have tissue paper flowers and long curly ribbons on the back)

7. When a attending a parade and a float with Fiesta Royalty member, in a gown passes by, it’s customs to yell, “show us your shoes!”

8. Cascarones, or colored confetti eggs with a tissue paper seal are for celebrating and cracking on your friends and family…not for eating.(I didn’t know people outside of Texas only used egg dyeing kits just for boiled eggs until we got new neighbors from Colorado when I was about 12 yrs old)

9. Drinking adult beverages is a great way to relax and enjoy Fiesta, just don’t drink and drive. It’s no refusal, and with Uber, Lyft, and Viva Park & Ride options there’s no excuses! Viva Park & Ride is what I usually take.

10. My mom’s tip is to always wear comfortable shoes. Don’t go barefoot if shoes are uncomfortable. 

11. Take cash, nowadays most ticket booths can take a credit card, but it’s usually quicker with cash!

My top pick of events in no particular order 

 • Taste of New Orleans: amazing food, not too crowded, amazing live music, and decently priced 

• Fiesta Fiesta: opening ceremony and kick-off celebration with Pin -pandemonium: the one event where you have the chance to buy just about every New Fiesta medal and trade with collectors. 

• Texas Cavaliers River Parade: one of my favorite parades to attend! Seating is along The Riverwalk. The floats actually float because they are on the river barges 

• NIOSA: Night in Old San Antonio: known as the drinking drunk fest of Fiesta, but there’s so much food! Thursday and any day after that it’ll be packed shoulder to should, so if you’re wanting to be able to walk around with ease and enjoy all the different cultures and foods available, go before Thursday!

• King William Fair: in the gorgeous King William District, this is a big family friendly Fiesta event. Free entry for kids 12 and under. There’s a parade, crafts, food, and live music. 

• Fiesta Flambeau Parade: The night parade is the biggest Fiesta parade. Beautifully lighted floats, people, and bands. You’ll definitely have the chance to yell “show us your shoes!”

Viva Fiesta,

Sydney Charming

San Antonio| The Saga | San Fernando Cathedral 

It’s Downtown Tuesday in San Antonio today and I’m sharing one of my favorite downtown sights with y’all. On pretty much any weekend night and Tuesdays, in the Main Plaza of the San Fernando Cathedral, you’ll stumble upon a crowd gathered to view a video art installation on the Cathedral. There’s always amazing things to do in this city. San Antonio The Saga is a beautiful must for residents and tourists, and it’s free!

  

  

Created by artist Xavier de Richemont, you will see his interpretation of the history of San Antonio and Texas. This show has been projecting on the Cathedral front since 2014. It shows every Tuesday, and weekend nights. Runs almost half an hour long, with start times of: 9 PM, 9:30 PM, and 10 PM. Again, this is one of my San Antonio favorites, and anytime I’m downtown around the show times, I’m there. So if you’re downtown on one of these days go check it out! 

XOXO,

Sydney Charming 

2017: Be Happy

2016 is over. There’s a lot social media buzz that it was the worst year ever for a lot of people. For me, it wasn’t really different from any other year. Started out 2016 with “golden birthday” 28 years old on the 28th and snowboarding in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Not too shabby of a start to 2016!

Immediately upon returning to Austin, I had to rush to San Antonio to help with a family emergency. I had been debating between renewing my studio lease in Austin, or moving back to San Antonio. After taking a week off work and what felt like an extremely devastating loss of my youngest sister moving with her dad, I decided moving back to San Antonio would be best. I’ve written about some of the trouble my family has faced with my brother and sister’s dad, and even now 10 years later it continues.

I also fainted this year, collapsed almost completely to the concrete ground below me. Thankfully one of my friends was close enough to catch and ease me down. T.M.I (well kind of, but if you’ve been following me for a while, not really) I’ve struggled with PMDD and anemia for years. After a lot of talking with my doctors, family and some of my Catholic friends, I decided to finally give hormone therapy a try. (Oh nooooooo, it’s birth control! I’m going to hell) As long as I’m using it as just a hormone therapy, I’m good. I’m so happy to report that it’s actually helped me immensely! Some ladies can probably relate at the great joy in not feeling like your insides are continually being ripped with a knife when your cycle comes around. Such a great relief and no more fainting!

Seeing how much my sister has changed with her outlook on life was probably the saddest part of last year. So I lead by example, right? 

Family and faith has always come first for me. The rest of the year, as I traveled all around Central Texas, blogging about a different treasures deep in the heart of Texas has to offer, I also prepared to move back to San Antonio.

  • Rodeos

  • kite festivals 

  • South by Southwest 

  • Fiesta 

  • Thai New Year

  • Fashion Week Austin

  • Fashion Week San Antonio 

  • and even Fashion WeekNew Orleans

    •  an adventurous New Orleans girl’s trip

    • Music and Wine festivals

    • Weddings

    • State Fair of Texas

    • Wurstfest

    • Luminaria 

    • Corn Mazes

    • Art Walks 

    • First Fridays 

    • Pub Runs

    • Christmas Lights

    • Trail of Lights

    • hiking various State Parks

    • countless blogger fashion and food events

      There’s no way anyone in Central Texas could possibly be bored. 

      Through all these events and moving, I’ve realized I also have an amazing community of friends I’ve surrounded myself with. They are my second family. Friends that will grab a bite to eat with me brings me so much joy. Friends that have stayed sitting for hours and talked about different things going on, gave advice, found a way to help me with moving or car troubles without hesitating, listen to me cry, gave me hugs or maybe even lead me to bible scriptures and prayers I really needed to hear, you folks, truly warm my heart.




      So yeah, there was some pretty crummy things in 2016 for me, if only they were delicious cookie crumbs, but there was mostly amazing moments and experiences with genuinely good-hearted, caring, and amazing people. As I’ve said before, no reason to dwell and give yourself excess unnecessary stress. 

      Recently, I was able to attend a Keynote by Fr. Mike Schmitz and he referenced Romans chapter 12 from the Bible, that helped me reset my goals for 2017.  

       “And so, I beg you, brothers, by the mercy of God, that you offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, with the subservience of your mind. 


      And do not choose to be conformed to this age, but instead choose to be reformed in the newness of your mind, so that you may demonstrate what is the will of God: what is good, and what is well-pleasing, and what is perfect. 


      For I say, through the grace that has been given to me, to all who are among you: Taste no more than it is necessary to taste, but taste unto sobriety and just as God has distributed a share of the faith to each one. 


      For just as, within one body, we have many parts, though all the parts do not have the same role, 


      so also we, being many, are one body in Christ, and each one is a part, the one of the other. 


      And we each have different gifts, according to the grace that has been given to us: whether prophecy, in agreement with the reasonableness of faith; 


      or ministry, in ministering; or he who teaches, in doctrine; he who exhorts, in exhortation; 


      he who gives, in simplicity; he who governs, in solicitude; he who shows mercy, in cheerfulness. 


      Let love be without falseness: hating evil, clinging to what is good, 


      loving one another with fraternal charity, surpassing one another in honor: 


      in solicitude, not lazy; in spirit, fervent; serving the Lord; 


      in hope, rejoicing; in tribulation, enduring; in prayer, ever-willing; 


      in the difficulties of the saints, sharing; in hospitality, attentive. 


      Bless those who are persecuting you: bless, and do not curse. 


      Rejoice with those who are rejoicing. Weep with those who are weeping. 


      Be of the same mind toward one another: not savoring what is exalted, but consenting in humility. Do not choose to seem wise to yourself. 


      Render to no one harm for harm. Provide good things, not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men. 


      If it is possible, in so far as you are able, be at peace with all men. 


      Do not defend yourselves, dearest ones. Instead, step aside from wrath. For it is written: “Vengeance is mine. I shall give retribution, says the Lord.” 


      So if an enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in doing so, you will heap burning coals upon his head. 


      Do not allow evil to prevail, instead prevail over evil by means of goodness.”

      ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:1-21‬ ‭


      For 2017 I’ve chosen “Happy” as my word and goal. Just to simply be sure to celebrate all the goodness in life. #BeHappy 

      XO, 

      Sydney Charming 

      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.