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. 

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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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Taste Texas: Houston: Bellaire: Cafe 101 & Hong Kong Dim Sum

Just before my 27th birthday, I decided to visit some of my best friends in Houston. I love that they love to eat delicious food like me!

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I arrived Friday night and within 30 minutes I was on The Wave. It’s a shuttle bus service that’s $15 per person. They will pick and drop along their routes. Since my friend’s place was along their routes we called and scheduled our picks and drop offs. It was a party inside, with black lights, music, and a pole.

The rest of the night was spent, celebrating another friend’s birthday at Gloria’s with VIP bottle service and salsa dancing. Well, mostly dancing. We’re all about the same age and just about in the same places in our lives, and don’t find it fun getting drunk and having a hangover.

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Since none of us woke up with a hangover, we were up early and ready to eat. My friend Trish decided to take us to Cafe 101 in Bellaire. First, it’s gorgeous inside, I’m biased cause my favorite color is purple. Purple and silver detailed decorated wall and seats. If it were after sunset, it would definitely have a romantic atmosphere. We went for lunch so the atmosphere was fun and energetic with top hits music playing.

imageTrish and Darvin ordered the kimchi hotpot, and a side of the spicy salmon sushi roll. Dante ordered the Shitoki mushroom hotpot. I ordered Singaporean noodles and also side of the spicy salmon sushi roll. The hotpots had a great flavor. Stir them around and you’ll find a few chunks of bone. Now that’s what gives the soup stock a rich flavor. The Singaporean noodles, were glass noodles in a light yellow curry sauce with chicken and shrimp. Just enough curry to get it a hint of a little kick but not too much to over power the dish. Mhmm! Oh, and don’t forget the spicy salmon sushi rolls. Whew, they were good and spicy. Glad I also got some Thai Tea with tapioca pearls to cool that down.

imageSince my birthday was coming up, we got all dressed up in pink and went out to Midtown for the night. Started at Drinkery and danced a little bit until everyone else met up with us. Then headed to Red Door. Upstairs was fun not so crowded and great music to dance and sing-a-long to. (When I go out I really don’t care much for drinking. I just love to dance!) We checked out downstairs but it was way too crowded. Being squished against a stinky, sweaty stranger attempting a bad dance move and spilling most of your drink on yourself or the person next to you is not my idea of fun. Thank goodness we headed back upstairs really quickly. Dance, dance, dance! About 1:20am we decided to leave early, pick up a few pizzas and go back to Trish’s and play a game of Cards Against Humanity.

Wake up flawless, just kidding, but it’s nice to have a great time out with some best friends and not having any drunk drama or wake up with a hangover. Again since we were all up relatively early, we decided to have a Dim Sum Sunday! Back to Bellaire we went. Hong Kong Dim Sum is a pretty tiny restaurant with a long line outside. The way it works to get a table, you tell the hostess how many people are in your group and they give you a number for a specific table that can fit your group. So basically, you’re waiting for the group already sitting at that table to finish. We got table B7, so of course when they called our number, Dante yelled “BINGO!”

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The menu is mostly pictures and they give you an order list that you write down the number of dishes you want. We ordered a total of 14 dishes. Man, I love Dim Sum Sundays! Sticky rice in tea leaves, chicken feet, bao, beef spare ribs, crispy shrimp balls, shu mai, hagou, oh my! I don’t even remembers everything we ordered. It was all scrumptious. Nothing had a freezer burn taste, which happens occasionally, at other dim sum restaurants. So good and priced pretty well. Splitting the bill between the four of us it was about $20.00 each.

With a full belly and happy heart I got back on the road to Austin. I adore and cherish these friends, Trish, Annie, and Angela & Todd, I love y’all. So happy and blessed to have friends that actually care about how we’re all doing. I don’t get to see and catch up with y’all often but when I do, it’s like no time has passed. I think Trish said it best:

“true friends are hard to find. I’m happy I can pick up a phone and call you and it was like the conversation never stopped. As we get older we realize it is less important to have lots of friends and more important to have real ones.”

Que Pasa Central Texas

Mid-September is already here and festival season has begun. There’s so many events happening in Central Texas this month. So pack your sunblock, bug spray, and water bottles and head out to an event on this list, deep in the heart of Texas. See y’all out and about.

*Oui! Wednesday|Passport to Paris: French Language
Where: San Antonio- McNay Art Museum
When: every Wednesday- December 17
Time: 2pm
More information
Cost: Free with museum admission

*Art|Music|Food-Second Thursdays
Where:San Antonio- McNay Art Museum
When:every 2nd Thursday of the month
Time: 6-9pm
More information
Cost:Free

*Movies in the Park: “Raising Arizona”
Where:Austin- Republic Square
When: September 11
Time:8pm
Cost: Free

*2nd Fridays: Art Walk
Where: San Antonio- N.St.Marys street & Josephine Street
When: September 12
Time:6pm- 10pm

*Second Saturdays
Where: San Antonio- S. Flores St.
When: September 13
Time:6pm- 10pm
More information
El Campo will be an awesome band to checkout

*Banger’s Smoke-out Saturday
Where: Austin- Banger’s on Rainey St.
When: September 13
Time: 11am
More information

*Utopiafest
Where: Utopia-Four Sisters Ranch
When: September 12-14
More information

*Capitol of Texas QuiltFest Fiesta
Where: Austin- Palmer Event Center
When: September 12-14
http://www.captxquiltfest.org

*Los Lonely Boys
Where: New Bruanfels- Gruene Hall
When:September 12
Time: 8pm
http://gruenehall.com

*Viva Mexico!
Where: Austin- Mexican American Culture Center
When: September 13
Time: 7pm
More information

*Échale! Block party
Where: San Antonio- History Pearl Brewery
When: September 13
Time: 1pm- 6pm
http://atpearl.com/calendar/echale

*Kings of Leon| Mechanical Bull Tour with Young The Giant and Kongos
Where:Austin- Austin360 Amphitheater
When:September 13
Time: 5:30pm
http://austin360amphitheater.com/events/kings-of-leon-with-young-the-giant-and-kongos

Tour de Vin by The Food & Wine Foundation of Texas
Where: Austin- W Austin
When: September 18
Time: 6pm
http://www.winefoodfoundation.org/events/tour-de-vin/

*Fowler Fest 2014
Where: Austin- Nutty Brown Cafe
When: September 20
http://nuttybrown.com/concert-calendar/fowler-fest-2014

*Texas Craft Brewers Festival
Where: Austin- Fiesta Gardens
When: September 27
http://texascraftbrewersfestival.org

*South Texas Corn Maize opens
Where: Hondo
When: September 27
More Information

*Schlotzsky’s 32nd Bun Run with fastest dog in Austin race
Where:Austin- Alterra Parkway & Kramer Lane
When: September 28
More information

*San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Bar-B-Que Off & Festival
Where: Freeman Coliseum/ AT & T Center grounds
When: September 25- 27
http://www.sarodeo.com/attractions/bar-b-que-cook-off-and-festival

Swagger back

Recently, I had a terrible case of homesickness. I missed everything I loved in San Antonio, my family, my church, my friends, and my social life. Growing up Catholic, in San Antonio, makes living in Austin difficult. Even though Austin is a smaller city, than San Antonio, it feels larger.

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There’s an funny phrase I like to say about my hometown, “San Antonio is the biggest small town.” I love the calmness, tradition, culture rich, friendly community that most residents instill with passion. It’s one of the top 10 largest cities in the United States of America, but you can usually run into someone you know any where in the city. Mostly everyone knows each other in some crazy, intricate twine.

Homesickness was definitely consuming. I lost my curiosity to explore Austin, to explore anything. I was looking at everything negatively. Blah, blah, blah. About two weeks ago I got to take a trip home. I was so pumped, because it was First Friday, and my friend’s annual BBQ!

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So, First Friday, is a celebration of art, music and food in downtown San Antonio, every First Friday of the month. Kind of like a mini Fiesta. There’s always a themed pub run, that has become really popular within the past few years. The month of August is an 80’s theme. My friend Mariah and I dressed up as R2D2 and Yoda. I got relax and just have a blast dancing. I forgot how much I love to dance! I think this help spark my cure!

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Next day was my friend, Mark’s annual BBQ. It’s pretty special, because it’s to celebrate his remission from Leukemia. This year, was six years, of being in remission. SIX YEARS, I FEEL OLD! (Back story: I meet Mark in college when he had leukemia. He was a brother in the same fraternity that a handful of friends from high school were in. We have a few things in common, such as, San Antonio is the best, growing up Catholic, and festival food fanatics!) Back to the BBQ, it was great to have some good BBQ, home cooked food! Definitely help cure my homesickness.

I ran a bunch of errands, but also stopped by to catch up with my grandma, mom and sisters. Helping my baby sister pack for her trip was kind of scary. Clothes every where! Made it back to Austin by Sunday morning to see one of my best friend’s show at the HOPE Farmer’s market. I still wasn’t completely cured yet.

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Then last week I got a tweet from Lambert’s that I won two free tickets to a show featuring Nick House Band and Northern Quarters. Awesome! I love Lambert’s! The food is amazing, especially brunch! There’s this Frito pie with poached egg dish that I just can’t get enough of. My friend, Jack, came along and kept pointing out all these places and things in Austin I had not explored or tried. Well, I got there and the first band, Nick House Band, started just shortly after. They were a blast! Trumpet, some funky Spanglish, they had the crowd dancing. They even tossed some candy to the audience. How sweet. (I couldn’t help it) I was cured! Their energy and excitement in the show reminded me how much I love discovering new things, especially music.

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My love for music runs deep. I love how people can connect, relate, express and just have fun. When I was younger, I turned to music, to drown out the yelling of my brother and sister’s crazy dad. (You’ll learn more about the darker days in my past as I post chapters from my Growing Up Charming series) Weather it was practicing an instrument, singing , or just listening it helped instill a calmness in me. As a freshmen, in college, I minored in music. Took some classes where I had to research the Didgeridoo, went to the symphony and wrote analysis papers. Anyway, when I transferred I decided to just focus on biology/ Pre-med. Oh well

After, seeing the passion and excitement in the Nick House Band members, I felt inspired again. I’ve got that sparkle, twinkle in my eye, swagger back. Watch out! Yeah, I went there. There’s so many things to explore and I can’t wait to share with y’all.

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Music Monday: Wasted

This week instead of a list of songs, I recommend one song. Just one amazing song that I can’t help dancing to! I can can be pretty O. C. D.  and a perfectionist when it comes to getting work done… but I get work done. Sometimes, it’s okay to let your hair down, grab a drink with your friends, dance and not give a damn…in moderation. “Wasted” by Tiesto is perfect for those occasions!

Watch the video! It had me laugh and dancing. Reminded exactly of two pictures my friends have captured of me. The first, back when I used to host a second Thanksgiving for my friends. Striving to  make everything delicious, perfect and from scratch.

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The second, when if was 22 and finally learned how to “let my hair down, grab a drink with my friends, dance, and not give a damn!” … Again, in moderation of course.

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Anyway take a listen, watch the video, have a good time, smile, laugh, and dance my friends. I definitely have this song on repeat!