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: 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

  
 

    

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.”

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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