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! 

 

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

Taste Texas: Austin: Hillside Farmacy

Brunch, it’s just what we do nowadays. Sleep in a little but not too late. Just late enough so that we should call it breakfast. Meet some good friends to catch up and take Instagram pictures of the mouth watering breakfast/lunch infusing meals we call brunch. Yay! Sunday funday!

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One of my favorite places to go for brunch in all of Austin is Hillside Farmacy. Located on East 11th street. Brunch goers paradise. Everything quaint. Outside beautifully painted mural on the walls and few tables and chairs along the front patio. Inside, bookcases line some of the walls with sauces, wine and antique looking bottles, still reflecting the pharmacy image. Order a craft of mimosas and it’s usually brought out in an Erlenmeyer Flasks. Every inch from outside to inside, Insta- worthy.

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Now on to the food! Oh deliciously comforting food. My hands down favorite dish to order is the Mac & Cheese. Perfectly slightly sharp yet still creamy comforting. I usually add pancetta and a poached egg for a little extra fee. Absolutely worth it. I’ve had a few different sandwiches, all tastebud invigorating. The BLT benny, also perfection. Oh hollandaise, making brunch goers “le sigh” with delightful bliss.

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Discover Austin Texas: Mt. Bonnell

Super bowl Sunday, Fierce the dog and I went hiking around Mt. Bonnell. What a spectacular view. We succeeded in finding Fierce new trees to pee on at new heights!

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.”

Small Business Saturday: San Antonio’s Historic Pearl Brewery Shops and Montage

Black Thursday/ Friday chaos has finally ended. While most people are now eagerly awaiting Cyber Monday, yesterday was the annual Shop Small Business Saturday. I am so happy I got to spend the day in my hometown, well, city of San Antonio, Texas.

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The first half of my day was spent with my baby sister and the RowdyRoady Grillers, cheering on the UTSA Roadrunners Football team. They defeated North Texas, 27-34! Go Runners, Birds Up, and Congrats! Also congrats to the Rowdy Road Grillers landing a spot in the tailgate of the year competition. Even though they didn’t win this year, their grilling so delicious and juicy, it won on just their food for me. Also, shoutout to the UTSA Marching Band, loud and clear. Oh sweet music to this former band nerd’s ears. Woodwinds, Brasses, Percussionist, and Color Guard y’all were all fabulous.

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After the winning game, my sister and I decided to take a stroll on the grass or turf. The audience was invited down for a Fan Walk, once the players were cleared off the field. Then we headed back to the Rowdy Road Grillers for some more of that fantastic grilling before taken off.

Once our tummies were stuffed and happy again, we headed out to The Historic Pearl Brewery. Our goal? Ice cream. Where? Lick. There was a little bit of a long line but it only took about 5-7 minutes until we were at the front of the line.

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Lick Honest Ice Creams started in Austin, Texas. It’s actually just about two blocks down the street from my place. Since I’m usually busy working I rarely get to go. When I’m home, in San Antonio, I love strolling around the Historic Pearl area. Their ingredients are from local farms, and dairies around the Austin area, making their ingredients fresh and so yummy. I indulged in the “Texas Sheet Cake,” and “Pecans and Cream.” My sister, who rarely explores food outside of her comfort zone of hot wings, and pizza, tried “Roasted Beets and Fresh Mint,” and “Sweet Persimmions and Sage.”

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We wondered around, and while passing One Lucky Duck, I was tempted to run in and grab a “Berry Blue Shake”. It has blue-green Algae which is considered a super food because it’s packed with proteins, essential vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants. Probably a great after Thanksgiving meals purge shake. Since I already filled up on ice cream, I decided to pass. I’ll be back!

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The last shop I went into was Adelante Boutique. It’s definitely charming, and chic. I walked in and thought “can this place just be my closet?” I would pin everything in there to my pinterest. Picked out this cozy cute gray and cream colored sweater with 3/4 sleeves. I tried it on and big mistake, cause it fit perfectly! So soft, cute and cozy chic, but out of my budget for now. Again, I’ll be back!

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Since we were in the area, I decided to stop by Montage Vintage. I found out about them through Instagram. They are a vintage up-cycle clothing boutique. Walking through I couldn’t just skim through and pick out one thing here or there. Pretty much every piece they have is unique and oh so glorious. I just had to look at every thing! Chandeliers, rustic frames and mirrors, made my hipster senses tingle with delight. I really wanted to pick up one of their “Francis Felt Fedoras in camel, I had seen on their Instagram account, but they were currently sold out. The theme of the evening, I’ll be back! I ended up picking up one of their “basic beanies” in gray and “knit beanies” in a maroon color.

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What a great day back home! I definitely encourage everyone to take the time shop small business when ever they can. These are gems you’ll treasure forever. Topping off my evening, a majestic sunset.

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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

Cured at The Pearl: An Afternoon Trip Home

Almost a month, since I’ve been home. I finally returned to San Antonio. Two goals for my very short trip.

1. Find a location for my Grandma’s 80th birthday
2. Dinner at Cured at The Pearl

Location found! Check 1. Done. I’m excited to host this celebration at the VFW Post 76 “Oldest post in Texas”.
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It’s a beautiful venue in downtown San Antonio. Along The Riverwalk close to the San Antonio Museum of Art. I’m still deciding between the 60 guest hall or the carriage house (250-300) people. Just with my grandma’s side of the family I’ve counted about 80 people! I still have a month of finalizing everything.

Later the time for goal 2, Cured, finally arrived!!! I made reservation ahead of time, for a few friends and myself. I highly recommend to make a reservation ahead of time. It was a Saturday night. Not just any Saturday night, it was also the last day of San Antonio Restaurant week.

When we arrived, I slightly panicked because there were people waiting around everywhere outside. I overheard someone say “they said our wait time is about an hour.” We checked in and within 10 minutes we were seated. I was too excited about the food, that I forgot to take picture of the place.

The building, from outside to the inside, is spectacular. “Cured”, written in gold, surround by a teal tinted tile, affirmed my arrival on the ground just as I walked pass the hostess stand. Oh wait, let’s take a few step back to the front door. The first sight, as you walk in will make your mouth water. Almost like the fairy tale, Snow White, standing as a focal point, food science, charcuterie, encased in glass and gold. If you love food and science this is glorious.

I order a delicious “Southern Belle” for a drink, it was similar to an Old Fashion.

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Reminded me of the song “Sunshine and Whiskey” by Frankie Ballard. “Every time you kiss me, it’s like sunshine and whiskey.”

Charcuterie, of course, was the first plate we order. We choose Local Lamb and Citrus Terrine, Smoked Duck Ham, and 120 Day Pork Belly. All he charcuterie plates are served with their house-made Brewers Crackers. You can order three items for $18, six items for $26, and nine items for $34. We choose three, since just two of us were eating.

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My entrée, goat sausage surround by hominy and cover with a friend egg. My friend, Stephanie, order lamb as her entrée. I honestly did pay attention to everything else that came with her dish. I was too busy indulging in everything else in front of me.

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A charming, vibrant, candle lit tables atmosphere. Moderately priced, I think we spent about 35-40 each. The restaurant week dinner was $35. So about the same price but we got to pick what we wanted. Check 2. Done! Bravo Cured! I can’t wait to go back and try more.

*side note: my friends and I found a bit of humor, in the fact that it had been my first time back in San Antonio in about a month and I ended up hanging out with only all my Asian halffer friends. image