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

XOXO,

Sydney Charming

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

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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. 

Hey, where have you been Sydney?

I am about a month and a half behind on posting all the articles I’ve written for y’all be cause I’ve been stressing. My work contract ends today, March 26, 2015. Well, get ready for some delightfully delicious, faith and Texas inspiring reading because I just signed the offer to work directly with the company I’ve been contracted with for the last year.

Five years ago, if you asked where I’d be in five years or what’s my five year plan, I never in my wildest dreams thought I be right here. I would have told you “still in medical school, probably just starting residency.” Or Working with autistic children. Of course life doesn’t always happen the way you plan or want it to.

I left undergrad school, with a pretty decent GPA, and MCAT score and just a year left to finish. Starting to look into medical schools. Why did I leave? My family needed me. Faith, family, and food that’s me. My mom was going through a terrible divorce that lasted almost 4 years. I’ve written about her ex-husband, that horrid nightmare, here. My brother and sisters were about 12, 10, and the youngest 7 years old. I moved back home, helping with school pick-ups, drop offs, finances, parenting and still working at the golf course. Eventually shifting my goals to business banking and working my way up.

Summing up the last few years, my family was able to overcome our hardships and move forward. Now what to do, go back to school? I lost that desire for medical school. I guess move to a different city? My friend, Jack, directed me to a contracting job for a pretty big tech company. I was hesitant, told him, I don’t know anything about tech stuff but he assured me that I would do well because I understood the business aspect of companies from working in business banking.

Alright, said a prayer and took that leap of faith.

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So for the last year, I’ve pretty much been competing for my job with other contractors. Now this company is located in Austin, and so many people living in the city and working for this company embrace the “Keep Austin weird” culture and strive to be unique and different from anyone else.

Let’s face it, come on, come in close, group hug, they’re actually all the same. Shocking! I’ve met some really nice and interesting people. Then I met a just a ton of one uppers and realized how little patients I have some times. Jack, was right. I was able to succeed because of my business knowledge and hard work. I also stayed true to myself. Always keeping in mind to stay balanced with the exciting innovations and remembering the business needs.

Finding balance is what I was born to do. Seriously, my mom is Catholic and my dad is Buddhist. Obviously their marriage didn’t workout but growing up I learned a lot of traditions, had culture overload, strong Catholic faith and also learned to always take a step back. Look at the paths behind me, see the possible paths ahead of me, trust in God so that which ever step I take forward he’s right there with me leading me to where I should be.

How do you shine in a crowd of unique individuals lusting to outshine everyone else? Know yourself, hold on to the traditions and culture you’ve always known. Be open minded and acknowledging of different. Balance and you’ll surely emit an incandescent glow shining brighter than the rest.

Hello 2015 Inspire: The Best Is Yet To Come

Last night I said goodbye to the year 2014. I have to say it was a pretty good year. Saw snow for the first time, learned how to snow board, attended Music Fest 2014 in a never endings blizzard. Quickly learned I don’t like cold snowy weather.

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Started a new job, with one of the top tech companies. Finally moved into my studio and started living on my own … with no roommates. At first, all the changes were exciting and happening so fast. It was exhilarating becoming independent. You know, having my own place, doing whatever I wanted, not worrying about having pants or bras on, going to concerts and on hikes weekly, and paying my own BILLZ.

Austin is a great weird city, but after a few months of living here, I realized I was over the allure of the weirdness. Homesickness kicked in for tradition, rich culture, family and friends. Even though I mostly work Monday through Friday 9am to 6pm, I’m busy the entire time. I planned my grandma’s 80th birthday celebration from Austin.

In mid September I finally went home for a weekend to celebrate a few birthdays. I was really surprised how encouraging my friends and family were. They reminded me of all the hardships I went through, and that it was great that I was able to get away to make a better living for myself. Hearing those encouraging words from friends, and family helped me push through my homesickness. Occasionally, the homesick blues come and go.

One special person, really turned around my thoughts towards relationships, this year. If you’ve read some of my previous post, you’d know I run for the hills away from them. This person has been one of my best friends, can match my wit, but also encourages me to do my best in whatever I do. He’s by far the hardest working person I know and his success shows it. I admire him and I am also inspired. You know that phrase “don’t get to busy making a living, that you forget to make a life.” Although those last couple of months, of 2014, were probably his toughest for work, some how he managed to say hi to close friends and family every now and then.

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So going into 2015, I review some of my stats for this blog and I noticed some of the most viewed articles are about my faith. This year one thing I am focusing this blog on is to inspire. My Faith is what makes me who I am. Every article I write or picture board I post will be to inspire others. Not everything will be about faith, some about Texas, music, arts, culinary, and fashion. I encourage everyone to explore and find what ignites their passions and inspires them.

Every I take K-Love’s 30 day Challenge: To listen to nothing but Christian music for 30 days. It’s a great time of reflection and revelations for me. Some of my previous articles reveal a little about some of the hardships I have endured, over the years, and every year this challenge reminds me that walking by faith with God in my heart, I will overcome.

My job allows others inspiration to come true and sometimes make a good huge impact on the world or just for a one person. That inspires me to do my best in my work. Since I’m contracted one of my goals is to get directly hired. If that does workout, my alternate plan is to find a job back home in San Antonio. My family is everything to me and I never realized how close i was with them.

As you can probably see started writing this a few days ago and picked it up again today. Either way, hello 2015 my year to inspire.

Music Monday: No Man Is An Island

Lately it seems a lot of people I know are going through some difficult circumstances. Most people tend to retreat to their own island trying to figure things out on their own. I am definetly guilty of this. Either out of pride or embarrassment, I like to figure things out on my own. While driving in the car I heard, Tenth Avenue North’s song “No Man is an Island,” it’s remind us that we should not carry our burdens alone. Choosing to walk by faith in God, who is a Trinity, we are also supposed to live as a community. As a community sometimes we need to reach out and help others and sometimes we are the people that need help. Someone else in your community just my have that fresh perspective that can help work things out. “For none of us lives for himeself, and none of us dies for himeself” -Romans 14.7

Growing up Charming: Domestic Violence- Just the Beginning

I was seven years old when I first met the devil. Standing about 5′ 4″ fair skin, dark brown hair, and beady eyes. He went by the nickname “Frank.” I instantly had one of those cold spine tingling chills run up my back. You know the kind that makes your hairs stand on end. I was surrounded in a joyful celebration for my cousin’s birthday and I could not shake the terror I felt meeting this person. When I got older I always thought it was ironic that I met him in October, which also happens to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

I was really hurt and didn’t understand why mom married him. Like I said before I was seven years old. She asked me “can I marry him? Is it okay that I’m marring him.” I told her no, I didn’t think he was a good person. They were married by the following March. My brother was born in July. Y’all can do the math. I didn’t know then she was already pregnant with my brother. So, of course she wanted to try to have a family with him.

My parents divorced when I was about three. I remember my dad was a little upset, but nothing crazy, they just grew apart. It was quick and we all moved forward. I thought that was going to be it. No big deal, because both my parents seemed really happy once they were separated. At least, until this deceitful demon came into our lives.

I would never wish the next eleven years of my life upon my worst enemy. I know there are people that are going through much worst all the time. So there’s probably not even a handful of people I’ve shared this with. At first, Frank, tried to be overly nice. He was still getting to know my mom, win her over, and test her limits. It didn’t take him long to realize she was still young, and naive. Heck, she was my age.

Their fighting started with little arguments, over keeping things in a certain way. He made it clear we had to do everything he wanted, there was no compromise. I had always been a very timid, shy, and obedient child. From my memory, I never did anything wrong that would require punishment. I remember him telling my mom I needed to learn responsibility. My first chore, was washing the dishes. Not too bad right? I learned very quickly to double check the dishes and make sure there wasn’t any residue. I’ll never forget the first time I was hit.

He was a police officer, of course he didn’t use just any belt. His work belt was about two inches thick, with other buckles and snaps all the way around. If I cried it made him smile. You know the monkeys in “Planet of the Apes?” Yeah, that’s what he looked like, big ears that put dumbo to shame, and an eerie grin. I would always try to fight back any tears. Usually, locking myself in the bathroom later and let tears quietly stream as I showered. I remember sometimes the water trickling down the red raised mark along my lower back would sting so bad.

He would find any excuse to hit me. Like most kids, sometimes, I didn’t want to keep my room clean or help clean the entire house. But I would get hit for things like taking to long to wash the dishes, or I interrupted and called him out on some exaggerated lie at a dinner party.

One day he asked me to go outside and feed the dog. I filled her bowl with food, tipped over her water bucket, and started to refill it. I don’t think even five minutes passed, when I heard the door open. Before I could even turn half way around, I heard the clank of his belt buckle and the first sting of being whipped went across my arm, then my lower back side, and my leg. I cried out “stop! Why?” With each word he replied in a hitting rage. “BECAUSE,” and another whip. “YOU,” and another whip. “TOOK,” and another whip. “TOO,” another whip. “LONG!”

Now, his joy or rush of hurting some might have been hereditary. From what I know, his father would beat or hit him and his siblings. I was told his father molested his own grandson. I don’t know if that’s true but I do know that family his has a very twisted and racist way of comprehending everything. If one child out of six did anything wrong, their dad would line all six of them up to be whipped. Starting with the youngest, and getting more intense as he worked his way across to the oldest. The oldest, would be punished the most.

Of course, I was considered the oldest. I was held responsible for my brother and sisters actions. At eight years old, I was left at home babysitting a newborn. By the time I was ten, I did a lot of the cooking and clean and taking care of my brother and newborn sister. Anything they did wrong, such as make a mess, like every toddler and infant do, they were punish, but I would still get punished worst. I would try my best to plea with them to be well behaved, but they were babies. They didn’t know any better.

You know how in middle school, students change in front of each other in the open locker rooms? I didn’t like to, I would usually change in a bathroom stall so friends wouldn’t see any markings and bruises I had. Once, he went into this rage as he hitting my sister and finally my mom jumped in and begged him to stop. When he was done, my poor sister had lacerations all over her lower body. It still makes me tear up remembering how much pain she was in. We couldn’t send her to school for a week. It’s painful and scary to remember this was only just the begging of his torment.

I bet you’re probably wondering why I never spoke out to anyone at school or my own father. Frank was a police officer. The police corruption I’ve seen is another chapter. He threaten me as child, that he was the law, and if I said anything he would find any reason he could to put my dad in jail. I was forced to live with this awful demon. I couldn’t complain, couldn’t run, couldn’t do anything. All I could do is hold back tears and pray. Pretend to have a stomach ache, lock myself in the bathroom, and silently let tears stream and pray. “Come to me, all you who labor and have been burdened, and I will refresh you.” -Matthew 11:28 was my saving grace.

Music Monday: Football

Today was the first day of a new school year, for most Central Texas Schools, which means it’s also Football season! So for this week’s Music Monday I listed a few songs to get y’all ready for this great time of year.

Parking lot party by Lee Brice

Boys of fall by Kenny Chesney
http://youtu.be/AlXDo5WhQXI

Tailgate by Colt Ford

Are you Ready for some Football? By Hank Williams Jr.

Sunday Night Football by Faith Hill

NFL Sunday Night Football by Carrie Underwood

Main Street Round Rock Photoshoot

The other day my friend Chinyere and I went up to Round Rock, Texas. It’s a quaint town outside of Austin. Our goal was to take some photos with Chinyere’s Nikon D3200 camera at sunset. Eh, we just wanted to see what we could capture. However, we got there just after sunset. We snapped a few shots and my friend, Eliezer Gallegos, did the touch ups. Not to shabby. Chinyere and Eli are going to be helping with photo of places and fashion for this blog. I’m excited to see what we can create together.

You can find more photos on the following links:

Chinyere’s Instagram

Eli’s Instagram

My Instagram

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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!

Ladies Weekend

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Two weeks ago was ladies weekend to celebrate two of my best friends birthday. Trish and Mariah! Crazy these two are both Cancers, or water signs complete opposite of me. (Aquarius, air)

Backstory
I met Trish as a freshman in college.

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She was my first friend I made in college. I was really shy and quietly and she defiantly was not. Then we were both bio majors looking to join a sorority. I transferred after my first year but we stayed close and she’s always been there to help my through some hard times my family and I were having.

I met Mariah as a senior in high school and she was a freshman.

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Our high school boyfriends were in the same class and close friends. So when they would hangout together we’d hangout. She quickly became like a little sister. Later she lived with me her senior year of high school my junior year of college. Just like Trish she has became unexpected friend that has always been there and become part of my family.

Back to ladies weekend!
The plan was for me to get off work early in Austin, meet Mariah in San Antonio. Then we’d take a MegaBus to Houston and meet Trish and my friend Annie.

Well, I got off work early and met Mariah in San Antonio. However, she was recovering from her actual birthday. So, change of plans. Started the afternoon off relaxing by the pool. Later we got our boots on and headed to Floores Country Store for an epic Gary Allen concert under the full moon!

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The alternative plan was for Mariah and I to meet at the bus in the morning. I made it to the bus, Mariah didn’t. Oh well! I promised Trish I’d make it up there. So I boarded the bus by myself. $13 dollars bus trip with a/c outlets and wifi vs. driving my truck $80 a tank…driving about 3 hours!

I finally arrived in Houston just in time for a delicious brunch at Benjy’s followed by Happy Hour also at Benjy’s.

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We’re definitely getting older, we all took an hour or so power nap/girl talk time before getting ready to paint the town red…well in this case blue. Yes, blue! Trish loves her themed parties. This year everyone had to wear blue, not just any color blue, patriotic blue!

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Proof Rooftop Lounge with VIP bottle service for Trish! Crazy thing happened, Mariah finally made it to Houston. My two crazies together for their birthdays! Great night of dancing, followed by munchies at some taco place.

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We got back to Trish’a place with just enough time for me to shower, and take an hour power nap. Then back to the bus to catch my 7:15am take off. The only problem, it was running just about an hour behind. Two and a half hour power nap on the ride back. (Power naps were my saving grace) Making it back to San Antonio just in time to attend a Thai Holiday small festival.