This is 30

Just about a month of being 30 under my belt. Am I sad? No. I’m excited. A year ago, I was in the mindset of, “oh no, it’s the last year of my twenties.” What have I accomplished? What’s my plan? How am I going to get everything I want done.


The truth is, not everything can be done or ever will be done. I’ve improved on goal setting and I finally bought my own car. I’ve been at my current job for four years and making a steady income that pays the bills. Blogging about Texas and faith in my spare time. I’m not anywhere near where twenty year-old me thought I’d be.

Funny thing is, I actually have way less debt than I would have had. So life’s pretty great right? Of course it’s not perfect but I’m happy. Remember those guides and outlines you got from your high school counselors to plan out your life? I threw that out the window in college.

The other day I went to a bible study and the readings reminded me that it’s all there in the Bible:

For God, who told the light to shine out of darkness, has shined a light into our hearts, to illuminate the knowledge of the splendor of God, in the person of Christ Jesus.

 But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, so that what is sublime may be of the power of God, and not of us.

 In all things, we endure tribulation, yet we are not in anguish. We are constrained, yet we are not destitute.

 We suffer persecution, yet we have not been abandoned. We are thrown down, yet we do not perish.

We ever carry around the mortification of Jesus in our bodies, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

 For we who live are ever handed over unto death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh.

Therefore, death is at work in us, and life is at work in you.

 But we have the same Spirit of faith. And just as it is written, “I believed, and for that reason I spoke,” so we also believe, and for that reason, we also speak.

For we know that the One who raised up Jesus will raise us up also with Jesus and will place us with you.

Thus, all is for you, so that grace, abounding through many in thanksgiving, may abound to the glory of God.

For this reason, we are not insufficient. But it is as though our outer man is corrupted, while our inner man is renewed from day to day.

For though our tribulation is, at the present time, brief and light, it accomplishes in us the weight of a sublime eternal glory, beyond measure.

And we are contemplating, not the things that are seen, but the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are temporal, whereas the things that are not seen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:5-18

Every step I have taken, people I’ve met, my crazy family and crazy friends, and even my silly blind dog (that loves to play fetch) were all already planned out for me.

My guide in life is my Bible, teaching me how to let the Lord’s light shine through me in all that I do. There have been bumps and bruises this far, and there will most likely be more, but this is my 30 with God in my heart…and a glass of wine.


Sydney Charming


Le Garage Sale

It’s here! Today’s the day the Le Garage Sale kicks off.

This is one of my favorite events in Austin. And it’s during my birthday! Happy Birthday to me. Who doesn’t love buying things on sale?

What is the Le Garage Sale? It’s like a warehouse, end of season sale for local boutiques and designers, all in one place. Sales racks, on sales racks, on sales racks. For a 20 something, almost 30, with a car payment, rent, and students loans, this is the best way to fill up my closet and stay within my budget.

The Southern Tx Charm tips for making the most out of the Le Garage Sale:

Stay Calm and courtesy: When you open the doors and see all the racks and peoples, at the Palmer Events Center, it can be a bit overwhelming and exciting at the same time. Just breathe, and take it row by row.

Map it out: If you don’t have a lot of time to browse and shop row by row, plan ahead. Take a look at their online site and pick out the vendors you want to shop. There’s maps at the entry tables to help guide you to the shops you’d like to check out.

Bargain Bin dive: Don’t be afraid to dig into the $5 bins! I’ve found so many amazing pieces in them.

Bring your own bags: not every vendor has bags. So it’s definitely a good idea to be prepared and bring your own.

•have a drink: it’s my birthday and they have cocktails and coffee for sale! Usually located in the back corners. Perfect for a happy shopping mood or if you’re like me, going row by row, and need an energy boost.

Have fun: Don’t get crazy, sometimes someone might grab something you were eyeing, just remember there’s amazing deals all around you and hop, skip, jump to the next rack


Sydney Charming

P.S. Here’s some of my favorite pieces I’ve purchased at the Le Garage Sale:

Six Flags Fiesta Texas: Fright Fest

We’ve reached the last week of October and there’s a slight chill in the air. Halloween is less than a week a away and Hocus Pocus is showing almost every night. There’s five nights left to check out Six Flags Fiesta Texas’s Fright Fest.

Another one of my favorite fall traditions is in full scream. (See what I did there?) The entire park is decorated for Halloween and when the clock strikes 7pm, “you’re worst nightmares,” come to life at The Arrival.

Zombies, ghouls, vampires, aliens, clowns, you name it because all horrifying nightmare creatures descend from the foggy train. The screams and shrills begin as all mayhem is unleashed.

Though out the park there’s fright zones with characters ready to make you jump in terror. There’s also six fright houses, all with different themes. I like to be in the middle of my group so I can laugh at the reactions of my friends in front of me. Also, some monsters tends to follow the friends in the back very closely. The Blood Bayou and Carnevil 3D additions this were my favorite. I must have jumped at least 3 feet in the air from a really good fright.

Here’s some of my tips for a spooktacular good time:

  • Tip #1 get there before 6pm because it can get crowded

  • Tip #2 buy the $25 express pass! I highly recommend it. Lines into the fright house can take as long as an hour and a half. With the express pass you wait takes 0-20 minutes. You get 1 express pass for each fright house and there’s six of them. Two years in a row we’ve been able to get through all six with the express pass. Absolutely worth it!

  • Tip #3 take water. Camelbaks are allowed into the park and they have an incredible amount of eerie fog that can make you dehydrated very quickly.

  • Tip #4 have patience and fun. There’s a lot of people. So there are long lines for everything, but that’s to be expected. Just try relax and have a frightfully good time.


Sydney Charming

Texas Road Trip: Hondo, South Texas Corn Maize

Howdy y’all! How’s life? Fall official started last Friday and all the festivities have begun. While in Texas, fall only means second summer, the season fun still continues.

One of my favorite fall traditions is getting lost at the South Texas Corn Maize. I feel like every year they add more to do. Making exploring Graff 7A Ranch even better. Open from September 16th to November 26th. That’s plenty of time to get your boots on and have a corny time getting lost together.

For the maze, you can grab a few different trivia cards on various topics before entering to guide your group through. Each question is numbered and has a turning point. The answer you pick you give you your direction to turn, left or right. It can be pretty funny with a group that has a few of the trivia cards.

Don’t just go for the maze though! They have hayrides, jumping pillows, campfires, apple cannons, and they even added a dance hall. Oh y’all know I love some country dancing. Maybe I’ll see y’all out there this weekend!


Sydney Charming

Learning to shoot: From no skills to some basics

September 1st and a lot of people start trying to pull out fall attire, pumpkins treats and decorations. However, September 1st also marks the beginning of Dove Hunting season for most areas. So others pull out their guns, camo, and ammo.

This past August was the first National Shooting Sports Month, which encouraged people to get out and try some Shooting Sports. Perfect timing for getting ready for Dove Hunting season.

Growing up in Central/ South Texas, a lot of weekends were spent with family on various ranches collecting arrowheads, rocks, and gathering chicken eggs, while the “adults” were out hunting. A few times, I got to go along with them and sit very quietly. Most of the time stayed around the house or cabins. Never really learned to shoot anything except rabbits, but even then my uncle would tell me I was too little to hold a BB gun by myself.

Now, I’ve been out with friends every once in a while to play skeet and trap, but not consistently. I had no idea how much skills you can learn! When I first started dating Kyle, I asked him what his hobbies are and he immediately said, “clay shooting.” So I told him, “that sounds fun, teach me.” Over the past few months I’ve gone with him and his dad to learn sporting clays and skeet shooting.

We went every weekend in August except for the last one because of the rain. First thing I learned, the early bird gets the worm, aka, arrive early to beat the heat and crowd. Plus, you get first pick of where you want to start.

I used to awkwardly hold a shotgun, low, in my right hand with my left hand around the bottom of the barrel, to avoid getting kicked back. The first thing I learned, was to how to hold the shotgun up the right way:

•The gun should be up with the stock along my right check. Keep in mind I am right handed.

•Left arm should be slightly bent (I’m too short for the shotguns I’ve been using and end up almost completely extended)

•left thumb and index finger parallel along the barrel.

•middle, ring, and pinky griping under and around the other side of the barrel.

•palm of my right hand should be along the gun just behind the trigger.(if there’s a name for this particular area, I haven’t learned it yet)

•index finger should be able to reach and pull the trigger with ease.

Next I learned how to properly stand. A lot of it depends on the person and where you are shooting.

feet should be about shoulder width apart

•leading foot should be pointing in the direction your planning to shoot.

•back foot should be slightly pointing in the direction the clay is coming from (This give your hips the range of motion you’ll follow a clay without having to shuffle around)

•knees slightly bent

•slightly lean forward (this really helps me from not getting kicked back off my my feet and on my butt.)

Shoot with both eyes open. Other types of shooting, you close one eye to focus, but with clays it’s different. Follow the clay path with your peripheral.

As a safety precaution, every range requires eyes and ears covered. So glasses and ear plugs. It’s not really they shotgun shells you have to watch out for, but the clays debris can fling back at you.

It’s literally been a blast learning (see what I did there.) Now I’m working on getting the hang of knowing how much lead I should or shouldn’t take. I hope everyone that went out during August also had a blast and now I wish y’all a happy hunting season.


Sydney Charming

Texas Road Trip: Dripping Springs| Hamilton Pool Driftwood|Salt Lick BBQ

We’re half way through summer in Central Texas and some schools are back in session but it’s still 100+ degrees everyday. How do we stay cool in the heat? By jumping in a pool of course! Hamilton Pool is one of Texas’s most beautiful pools. And what deliciously goes with a Texas road trip? BBQ of course! This trip’s menu came from Salt Lick BBQ on Driftwood.

Let’s go back to mid-May when we decided to try to book a reservation. Everything for the first two months had already been booked. So looking at our calendars we finally settled on a Sunday morning for July 9th.

I definitely recommend making a reservation as soon as they open in May. There are two options 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Reservations are $10 per car and up to eight people in one car. Additional cars require a separate reservation. There is also a $15 entrance fee when you arrive, so total $26 with a $1 credit card service fee.

Now for our adventure! We started on a super early Sunday Morning. I thought we had to get there slightly early so we left Cedar Park around 7:30 AM. Made two stops. H-E-B was our first stop for extra water bottles and snacks. Second stop, picking up our friend, Jacob, close to The Domain area. GPS said we had about a 45 minute drive. Half awake, we set out on the beautiful hill country drive.

I lost count of the number of wineries we passed. Just about as many wineries as cows. A few car-karaoke sing-a-longs and catching up on life chatting and we arrived early. Just about 15 minutes early, but still a little too early. We were actually told they can’t let anyone into the park until 9AM and directed us to Reimers Ranch Park down the road.

Another couple of sing-a-longs and we were in the gate. A short drive down and we paid at a booth where they told us the best news; “swimming is allowed today.” The parking lot is super tiny but once you’re at the beach area of the pool you understand why it’s so limited. There’s about a quarter mile hike along a beautiful rocky and step filled trail. People carrying heavy items like ice chests kept stopping for breaks every few steps. So try to pack lightly.

The hike is short and so worth it because you’ve seen pictures but it’s even more breathtaking in person. Since half of the pool is in the cave area, there’s plenty of shade. The beach area is super tiny so we didn’t even lay out towel, just piled our backpacks close to a tree, snapped a selfie and ran in.

It was about 9:15 am so the water was pretty cool but the sun was coming out and warming up the half that’s not in the cave. We took some noodle to float on but I’m not a strong swimmer and felt like I’d get tired easily. Thank goodness they have life jackets now! Strapped one on and had so much fun just floating and lounging around without any effort.

Our friend Jacob had us try a swim/float across the pool with the most amazing, magical view I’ve ever experienced. While you’re there, look up and you’ll notice moss and trees growing at the top of the cave area. You’ll also see small water falls staggered along the edge. Now swim on your back, between some of the breaks from waterfalls and gaze up to this amazing sight of the water fall droplets coming down in your peripheral. Absolutely gorgeous!

Since it wasn’t too far and on our way back to Austin, we had to stop for lunch at the original Salt Lick Barbecue in Driftwood. You know a Texas road trip adventure and barbecue go hand-in-hand! Since we left Hamilton Pool by 1pm, I think we arrived at Salt Lick around 1:30pm. Which happened to be perfect timing for a Sunday. We were seated right away. Most of the restaurant was full, but not completely packed with a waiting list.

Since this location is cash only (with ATMs inside) and B.Y.O.B., I brought a few of my favorite Mighty Swells.

Kyle and I ended up splitting a “The Rancher, a sampling of Brisket, Pork Ribs, Sausage, and Turkey.” We wanted to have room for dessert, and the plate is “served with potato salad, cole slaw & beans. Bread, pickles & onions on request.” Now that’s a heavy and so scrumptious plate!

Don’t skip their desserts. Sinfully good, cobblers and pecan pies. The chocolate pecan pie is my favorite. Just right for a food coma ride home.


Sydney Charming

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?


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.

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



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.


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 30 years old and I’ve been going to Fiesta for 29 years. I’m so excited for my 30th year of Fiesta. 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
and hat 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