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. 

      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!