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 

Reverb and Dave Matthews Band Bama Green Project

Have you read Laudato Si’’ ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME by Pope Francis? Applause if you have and completed it. I’m only at section 64 of 240 sections. Obviously I can’t speak too in depth about it. So far I under stand we should be more aware of our environment and help to care for it.

We must be grateful for the praiseworthy efforts being made by scientists and engineers dedicated to finding solutions to man-made problems. But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.

Yes! I love volunteering! I found a pretty cool organization called Reverb, that I recently volunteered for. They are definitely making some moves to change the impact music tours have on our environment. Austin is know for live music and amazing concerts. So Reverb coming through helps with band tours help our community greatly.

REVERB is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2004 by environmentalist Lauren Sullivan and her musician husband, Adam Gardner of Guster. REVERB creates and executes comprehensive, custom programs to green the tour itself while engaging concertgoers to take action for the environment.

Pretty cool huh? I had the opportunity to volunteer with them for the Bama Green Project for the Dave Matthews Band 2 sets tour, at the 360 Amphitheater Circuit of the Americas. Some of the things they do consist of setting up Eco Villages, encouraging recycling, providing bands with aluminum reusable water bottles to refill, switching the tour busses to biodiesel, just to name a few. But so much work and planning goes into these tours. The volunteer coordinator explained to us that our volunteer t-shirts and the merchandise were designed about a year in advance. Organic merchandise, shirts made out of recycled materials.

Johnson’s Backyard Garden was the local organic farm they partnered with. As a volunteer, I helped sell these awesome water bottles, made from recycled materials, before the concert started. The money that was raised selling the water bottles was donated to Johnson’s Backyard Garden. Then the monetary value of organic produce from JBG was donated to the Austin Food Bank. So much done for the local community!  Oh, and by volunteering, I got general admission into the concert. I highly recommend volunteering with them when they come through your town.

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8 Central Texas Day Trips For Kids

******Wow! The first time I posted this summer fun list was two years ago. Now these two munchkins are teenagers going into high school! (They are also both taller than me!) So far, every summer, they still ask me to take them on at least one YO Adventure. *****

First Day of a new school year is less than a week away for most Central Texas schools. There’s still plenty of time to take your family on a few adventures! The past two years, majority of my spare time was spent adventuring Central Texas with my baby Sister and Godson.

Catherine and Dominic are just about the same age, just a few months apart. As they we coming into their preteen age, they started developing the own attuides. So, to get them out of the house and back down to earth, I started taking them on day trips. Dominic is fan of Drake, and around the time we started these adventures “Y.O.L.O.” was a popular phrase. While taking pictures of our trips, they started posing as a “Y” and “O”, calling them “YO Adventures.” Aren’t they cute?

Well here’s a list of a some of our “YO Adenventures” in the Central Texas area. Most of these places are inexpensive and only need a day to conquer! Don’t forget to pack bug spray, sunblock, and stay hydrated. Have fun and use  #YOAdentures if y’all post pictures. Our instagram is  @YOAdventures

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Jacob’s Well: Wimberley, TX

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Enchanted Rock- Fredericksburg, Texas

*hiking

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Glass Bottom Boat Tours -San Marcos, Texas

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McKinney Falls State Park – Austin, Texas

*swimming, hiking, and camping

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Canoeing – Austin, Texas

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Kayaking -San Antonio, Texaimage
image Fiesta Texas – San Antonio, Texas

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Sea World – San Antonio, Texas

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Barton Springs – Austin, Texas

Taste Texas: Castroville: Haby’s Alsatian Bakery

A deliciously delightful Texas must stop, Alsatian bakery on the drive home. I’ve mention plenty of times before that I am from the city of San Antonio, but my Mom’s family’s hometown is D’Hanis, Texas. Located slightly southwest of San Antonio, a beautiful Texas country side drive down Highway 90. 

 Some thing else I may not have mention, I went to elementary school outside of the city, in the first charming small town going down 90, Castroville. St. Louis Catholic School, now we’re talkin’ real small town, schooling. When I attended, there was only about 100 kids in the entire school. So one class of about 15 to maybe 20 students for each grade level. Yep, I had the same classmates every year. Well, one of my favorite Texas bakeries, was just down the street and around the corner from my school. (Actually, everything in this town is basically down the street and around the corner.) 

    

Last week my Mom and I were driving through town and stopped by. We ended up sparking a petty good conversation with the friendly staff and customers. “The meat market down the street, Dzuiks, how do you pronounce the name?” Everyone pronounced it differently. “The ‘D’ is silent.” “No, the ‘Z’ is silent.” “I’ve always pronounced it with a ‘J’ sound.” I guess next time I’m passing through I’ll have to stop by for some deer jerky and ask the staff. 

 Haby’s Alsatian Bakery! Castroville is a French-Alsatian settled town. Founded by Henri Castro, in 1844. A lot of the original settlers from Alsace, influence is still visible today. Haby’s has an assortment of fresh baked pastries. So delicious, light, fluffy, and sweet. They also bake cakes for every occasion. Oh, the oatmeal raisin cookiesare my favorite! 

 

A Family Tradition: Quinceañera

I remember turning 14 and my mom asking me if I wanted to have a quinceanera. (These extravagant birthday parties take about a whole year in advance of planning.) “No thank you,” I replied. I was a really shy kid. A crowd of people watching me attempt a dance. Nope.

 One of my cousin’s recently had her Quinceanera in our family’s hometown of D’Hanis, Texas. Emily has grown into a beautiful lovely young lady. I remember there was quite a big scare when she was born. Her mother is my second cousin. (It’s weird cause she looks much like my mom but she’s family so that makes sense.) Anyway, my cousin Donna went into labor at just a mere 25 weeks of pregnancy. I remember Emily was so tiny. There was neonatal experts taking care of her.

 She made it through and now she’s 15 years old! I’m not really close with her but a birthday celebration is a huge milestone and it was amazing to see who she has become.

 She was surrounded by her parents, and school friends. She still seems kind of quiet and shy, just like I was.   Quinceaneras usually have a Mass at church, then a dinner followed by a waltz and then a dance for everyone to join in. While the finally set ups for the dinner were taking place we were entertained by some mariachis and a little dancing. I had to leave before the dance to get back up to Austin but again. I love getting celebrate and see how lovely of a little lady Emily has grown into. 

Taste Texas: San Antonio: Casa Rio

It’s the Riverwalk. It’s family. It’s delicious Tex-Mex food. It’s tradition. What else do you think of when you hear someone mention San Antonio’s Casa Rio? 

My mouth waters, my stomach hungrily grumbles, I feel all warm and fuzzy and I think of the countless memories eating there with my family.  I’ve mostly eaten on the patio, so I picture those iconic vibrantly colored table umbrellas along the river walk. Centrally located, it’s so easy to find. Commerce, “you know right by that big red sculptor, but go down stairs along the Riverwalk.”  If you’re from San Antonio you probably given directions like this.  My grandma and I usually order the Regular plate: “A Favorite Since 1946 – Cheese enchilada, tamale, chili con carne, mexican rice, and refried beans.” Did you read that? Do you see the picture? It’s so much food! Oh glorious Tex-Mex food!

The restaurant was established in 1946. Making this one of the oldest restaurant and businesses on the Riverwalk. They host private events and with their historic space and catering. They even have river barge dinners. Next time your on the Riverwalk of San Antonio, stop by enjoy the atmosphere with some delicious San Antonio Tex-Mex and maybe a margarita while the mariachis serenade you.  

Visit Casa Rio

Rain Rain Go and Play: 7 South Austin Rainy Day Pick-Me-Ups

Rain, rain, rain. The Austin weather forecast has been flooded with rain everyday. (See what I did there?) My family, recently, came to visit and of course it was raining the whole time they were here. We didn’t let it damper our weekend. So what is there to discover in Austin on a rainy day? Well grab your umbrella or poncho and try these seven places!

1. First stop Chi’Lantro:– mhmm! Korean BQQ and Mexican infusion. Austin favorite for their mouth watering Kimchi Fries. 

2. Hula Hut:– it’s nice and pretty during the summer months to sit out in the sun with friends and enjoy some refreshing beverages, but it’s also just as relaxing on a rainy day. A little therapeutic, indulging in some chips and queso, sipping on a piña coladas, while listening and watching the rain fall on the lake.  

 3. Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds:– wall-to-wall of costumes, vintage clothing, and ascessories. So much fun looking around! You’ll probably leave with something you didn’t know you want but don’t need.

  

4. Uncommon Objects:-whew sensory overload! Wall-to-wall and floor to ceiling of antiques furnishings and just like it called Uncommon Objects.    



 

5. Gordough’s Public House:-This one was my family’s favorite! Donuts for buns!!!

  
  
  
6. Allen’s Boots:– With all the food in this list, you have to have some nice comfortable cowboy boots to walk it off. Don’t forget, just because we are in Austin (it’s a little weird), we’re still in Texas. They have such a gorgeous selection.

  
  
 
7. Lick Honest Ice Cream:– My favorite ice cream shop in Austin and San Antonio. Simply delicious! All local, Central Texas, ingredients. This time, I got Texas Sheet Cake, Goat Cheese Thyme & Honey, and Pecans & Cream. My sister had the Roasted Beets & Fresh Mint. My mom had the Dark Chocolate with Olive Oil & Sea Salt

  
 

    

Let’s go shopping! Nordstrom $400 Gift Card Giveaway

Howdy Charming followers! I’m working with some wonderful bloggers and shops to bring y’all this fabulous giveaway! I’m so excited for the lucky winner!!! Yes, I could probably add more exclamation marks!!!!! Giveaway details are outlined in my giveaway page. Link is up to next to ‘Home’ and ‘About Me’ tabs. Good luck!

Prize: $400 Nordstrom Gift Card

Co-hosts: 101 Things I Love / The Palmetto Peaches / Parenting Healthy / Deliciously Savvy / 2 Just B You / Something Gold, Something Blue / Style Tab / The Fashionista Momma / TonieGirl / Peaches In A Pod / Stripes ‘n Vibes / Rocks Fashion Bug / The Southern Texas Charm / Jenn’s Blah Blah Blog / Prosecco & Plaid / A Good Hue / Foxy’s Domestic Side / Chasing My Halo / Cameron Proffitt

Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck! (Please email becky@ohmygoshbeck.com with any questions.) 

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 6/4 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.

Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!


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The Fear of Falling Apart

For the past few months I’ve been struggling with some health issues. Recently, I think a little depression has been added into the mix because of how overwhelming everything has been. I’m so thankful for my friend being there, every step of the way.

We’ve been through a lot of unfortunate events, in a very small amount of time together. I’m talking about Murphy’s Law in full overdrive effect. We’ve also had some little accomplishments, definitely worth celebrating. We don’t live in the same city, but we’re not too far from each other. Through all these struggles, my friend has managed to at least call me everyday. Sometimes to ask how I am doing, sometime to tell me what they are going through, and sometimes just to talk. Occasionally, one of us will make the drive, or will both meet somewhere in the middle. We’ve become best friends and each other’s other half, helping each other with anything and everything from work, friends and family, to should I take a nap? But how much is too much? When a promise is made, to what extent should the promise be upheld?
A traumatizing event made me latch on to my dear friend even more, because they promised they’d be there through everything. For a moment, they were gone and everything went wrong. Well I guess, nothing went as planned and I was alone. I couldn’t get the experience out of my mind. I wanted to recover, but every time I would talk to my friend, they just didn’t understand and it made me feel even more alone. I began to be consumed with bitterness and anger. I desperately wanted to be comforted by my friend, but every time I was around them or even spoke to them I was taken back to that hurt and pain and the fact that they weren’t physically there to help me. Even after a good day, talking to them, I felt watery eyed and heavy. As if I had an anchor pulling me down a bottomless ocean.
Scrolling through some old pictures, I came across a video clip of, This is Gospel by Panic at the Disco, from The Gospel Tour. (Yes, I went to that concert. Definitely a blast from the high school past but still loved it!) I looked up the lyrics:

This is gospel for the fallen ones
Locked away in permanent slumber
Assembling their philosophies
From pieces of broken memories

If you love me let me go
If you love me let me go
‘Cause these words are knives that often leave scars
The fear of falling apart
And truth be told, I never was yours
The fear, the fear of falling apart
Don’t try to sleep through the end of the world
And bury me alive
‘Cause I won’t give up without a fight

Reading that and listening to the song once again, I thought I need space. I thought I just need time away without communication from my friend, so that I can start to heal. It was like I was taking one step forward and two steps back. Just not going anywhere. I thought make a jump that will help me run out of that toxic dance.  Or back to my other analogy, let go of the anchor so I can float back up myself.
Crazy thing, a few days to clear my head, and I love how God unveils himself in front of me. I came across this article : 10 Things NOT to Say to Someone Fighting Depression . Now I’m not trying to harm myself or anyone. I just feel sad, even though there’s some pretty spectacular things happening around me. Some of the key things the author mentioned caught my attention.

 “Telling someone happiness is a choice just isn’t true. In fact, if we skip passed our pain and grief, we miss out on an opportunity for God to comfort us.”


“Stop putting the pressure on yourself for something only God can achieve. Depression is too big to battle alone. God will give us more than we can handle, but He’ll never ask us to handle it alone. Yes, you can start exercising and eating better and making new friends and all of these things might help for a moment, but they won’t heal the root problem. You need Jesus. He’s the only thing that sustains.”


Right there in that last part, I realized I was putting way to much pressure and expectations on just one person. I am so grateful for my friend even helping as much as they have. Now I realize, what I should have know all along, God is with me. I am not alone and have never been alone. The times I broke down in tears, the anger, the sadness, he’s been there. I just wasn’t listening. Something I’ve written about plenty of times, that God is always with us, His Spirit is in us, and completely lost sight of that. Yesterday’s mass readings, actually made my happily laugh a little (1 John 3:18- 24) : 

Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.
Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth
and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn,
for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God
and receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit he gave us.


As if God, was like are you hearing me now! I am here with you, I will help you through this. And just for some extra reassurance listen to this Gospel reading next (John 15: 1- 8) :

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,


I hope that my friend can forgive me for expecting so much from them. I’m still getting better and I know one day this will just be another hill or mountain I’ve climbed. I know that I’m almost there and when I reach the top all the things that terrified me will just make the view so much more spectacular.

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Taste Texas: Austin: Sway

Sawasdee Pii Mai Ka! It’s Thai New Year! So what’s my favorite Thai restaurant in Austin? I’ve always been hesitant of eating at Thai food in restaurants. Being raised half Thai, I’m used to authentic Thai home cooking. My Dad is from Thailand. Him and my Grandma have always cooked fresh authentic dishes for me. So delicious! image

Thankfully, my Dad has taught me a bunch recipes. It’s nice to go out to eat every now and then, but sometimes it just doesn’t taste up to par. Funny, how a lot of my friends always want to eat Thai food when they go out to eat with me. Well, I’ve tried a few restaurants since moving to Austin. So far my favorite has been Sway.

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Conveniently located a street over from me on South 1st Street. I love everything about this restaurant. Incense burning at the entrance transport your senses. Reminds me of going to the Thai temple, or going to my grandma’s house. Beautiful wood work. Most seating is in groups with benches, perfect for Asian family style dinning. The menu is simple, clean and easy to navigate, again something I love. Definitely has a romantic, sultry atmosphere with its naturally dim lighting during the day and warm lighting in the afternoon.

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Now the food. Oh the food! One of the few places I get so excited about the food, when its placed in front of me I forget to snap pictures. Usually already delightfully devoured before I remember. Oh well, it’s something you have to come in and taste, and experience for yourself. Everything is served family style. Dishes are cooked to order and brought out as soon as they are done. Ingredients are fresh. Even though it’s a modern Thai restaurant, they have fabulously captured the authentic taste and flavors in their dishes.

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According to their Facebook page, they are going to have a special off-the-menu items this week to celebrate Songkran. Any American Thai restaurant that actual celebrate Songkran gets an enthusiastic double high five from me. The Thai New Year holiday is kind of a big deal in my family because it’s also my Dad’s birthday. See y’all out there. (I’ll probably be the girl in the cowboy boots, remembering to snap pictures after I’m done … Again).

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