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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What happened to the Golden Rule?

The other day I saw someone post a picture of a guy wearing a white suit in line at what looked like the ER. This poor guy must have been mortified because from the picture it looked like he pooped his pants. The picture was taken from behind so the guy probably had no idea it was taken. Why?

That’s what I asked when I saw the picture. Now the acquaintance that posted the picture has alway posted dumb things. Usually I ignore them, but this one saddened me. What happened to the Golden Rule? What happened to respecting another person’s dignity?

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Do unto others as you would have them do to you. In high school and college and volunteered and worked for a summer camp. Children’s Association For Maximum Potential Camp or C.A.M.P. Camp. A very special camp because we adapted all the activities so that children with disabilities could participate. It was an eye opening experience, to be a camp counselor, 15 years old, taking care of a child that couldn’t community their every day needs. Working with these children, taught me so much about dignity and empathy.

I remember my first camper was a 6 year old girl that had Angelman Syndrome. She didn’t talk, had difficulty walking and always appeared to be so happy. Those are some of the characteristics of Angelman Syndrome. Because of the disability she was born with causes severe intellectual development, I wasn’t sure what she could and couldn’t comprehend. Her parents indicated her mental age was equivalent to about a 1 year old. Stop and imagine this. Imagine being a 6 year old child, now imagine having difficulty walking, not being able to understand words, or any speech. Imagine waking up day-to-day, as a growing human being and possibly not having any thoughts on what’s going on around you and just following along as guided. Not being able to say I’m hungry, tired, full. It’s a very special life. You bring understanding, patience, and beauty to the world.

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One day my camper had an upset stomach and already leaked through two changes of clothes. I already sent her other clothes to be washed but I couldn’t let her skip her activities while we waited for clean clothes. She only gets to experience camp once a year. So I dug through my, trunk of clothes and dressed her in my clothes. They were a little big but she still got to have fun.

That was just my very first camper. Over the next few years, throughout high school and college, I had the privilege of taking care of many special campers. Each one taught me different things about disabilities, enjoying every precious life, and respect others.

Remember, no matter how educated, talented, rich, or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all about yourself. Integrity is everything. Do you feel like people treat you the way you want them to? Have you treated them with the same respect or better if they have not?

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HEAVEN’S VERY SPECIAL CHILD

A meeting was held quite far from Earth! It’s time again for another birth. Said the Angels to the LORD above, This Special Child will need much love. His progress may be very slow, Accomplishments he may not show. And he’ll require extra care From the folks he meets down there. He may not run or laugh or play, His thoughts may seem quite far away, In many ways he won’t adapt, And he’ll be known as handicapped. So let’s be careful where he’s sent, We want his life to be content. Please LORD, find the parents who Will do a special job for you. They will not realize right away The leading role they’re asked to play, But with this child sent from above Comes stronger faith and richer love. And soon they’ll know the privilege given In caring for their gift from Heaven. Their precious charge, so meek and mild, Is HEAVEN’S VERY SPECIAL CHILD.

by Edna Massionilla December 1981 The Optomist- newsletter for PROUD Parents Regional Outreach for Understanding Down’s Inc.

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

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.

Texas: Shop local for your San Antonio Rodeo Ready Outfits

Ladies! The smell of BBQ and manure is in the air. The 2015 San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo is here. Have you put together your rodeo get up yet? I’ve got you covered. I visited some local boutiques around San Antonio to find some fabulous outfits. You know, “these boots were made for walking,” well let’s add to that some class and southern sassy outfits that will make those cowboy hats tip. I even found a boutique that will have a booth at the rodeo grounds!

First up, Moda Mia Fashion Boutique. Now this is the place to get some chic trendy dresses! I was caught off guard by the beautiful selection and left with a dress for my birthday, instead of the rodeo. Either way, take a look at some of my favorites from Moda Mia!

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Next, up is Montage Vintage. Yep, vintage! It’s a vintage up-cycle boutique and I found  amazing pieces. Some maybe even for those that “walk the line.” 

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Last, but definitely not least, cause I had to save the best for last is Double Back Ranch! I found out about their store while I was at the Rodeo BBQ cook-off. They are located in St. Hedwig, which just a little off east 1604, and a few miles away from my Dad’s ranch! Their store is adorable from top to bottom. Everything with a little class and southern sass, home decor, dresses, skirts, shorts, pants, t-shirts, and accessories. So, if you like to get all dolled up or just more of a jeans and t-shirt gal, they have you covered! St. Hedwig, looking a little out of the way on the map? Guess what!?!? They have a pretty fabulous booth on the rodeo grounds this year! Perfect, if you’re going straight from work and need a glamorous wardrobe change. They are going to be in the Two-Step Expo. Hall booth 507-509.

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If y’all have an suggestions on local boutiques that are also rodeo ready let me know!

Austin feeling a little more like home: Catholic Young Professionals Happy Hour

Say what? Yep, you read that right! Austin, Texas is starting to feel a little more like home.

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Austin is an interesting city, I was captivated with the live music, delicious eats, and all the new things to explore. Very quickly, after moving here, I was over it. The long lines, traffic and very strongly opinionated hipsters every where. Hardly anyone living here is actually from Austin, or even Texas. For this born and raised San Antonio, Texas girl, it has definitely been a learning cultural shock experience. Some of my co-workers tell me “this is Austin, not Texas.” Well, I sass right back to them ” Bless your heart, since Austin is in Texas, I guess by your logic, that makes Texas even better.”

If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you read of my homesickness and how much I miss the community. Well, remember that St. Ignatius retreat I went the other day? There was also announcement about a Catholic Young Professionals happy hour. I mentioned it to my friend, Vanessa, and we decided to go ahead and check it out.

Upon running toward the entrance of the W Hotel to escape the cold, we noticed a pretty big crowd in the window. I mentioned to Vanessa that the group we’re looking for is probably a lot smaller. But after wondering around, we found out that large group was actually the Catholic Young Professionals happy hour group. My heart jumped for joy! As we mixed and mingled I was so excited to meet so many people, a community, that shares the same faith.

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Prayer to St. Joseph the workman, was recited in a great warming unison.

O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watch-word in life and in death. Amen

This was followed by an exciting announcement, of the Emerging Leaders Program. Applications will need to be submitted by January 30, 2015. Candidates selected will have the opportunity to meet and learn with leaders in different occupations  and learn to excercise their faith. Kind of reminded of the Marianist LIFE camp (minus the actual camp) from high school. I am definitely interested in applying.  The rest of the time was spent with a little more mixing and mingling. I learned about other churches in the area I have not attended, but mostly excited about this communtiy.

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More information can be found on their Facebook Group:Young Catholic Leaders in Austin

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.