Christmas in Austin

The thing I love about Christmas is the lights and decorations. I can’t stop looking at them, I feel like there is nothing else like it. So, usually the places I visit during the holidays have a lot lights and decorations. Of course, I like holiday drinks and food too. It might not snow in Austin, well it did a couple of days ago but thats a rare occurrence. However, they do have a lot free events with lights and decorations and other Christmas things too. Like peppermint hot chocolate or some fancy holiday cocktail. There is even ice skating and Christmas music. Austin is a city after all. Here is a list of holiday decorations that I like to visit in Austin:

Mozarts

Mozart’s is a coffee shop that has a beautiful view of Lake Austin. During Christmas they host a light show. It’s a free a event and it starts around mid November and ends January 1st.  They do have mutiple booths to get hot chocolate and coffee. Its a great place to walk around look at beautiful LED lights. The light show seems to be different every year and has to offer for everyone. This year they had a guitar light decorations.

Donn’s Depot

Donn’s Depot is an older bar that goes all out during Christmas. They even decorate the bathroom for Christmas. I like going to have a quick drink and enjoy their free popcorn and awe in the Christmas decorations.

Trail of lights

The trail of lights is held in Zilker Park and its a free event. It starts in the beginning of December and ends December 23rd. The put up lights and decorations and you walk around the park. They also have various food trucks and things for kids where they can write a letter to Santa. It can get pretty crowded, so just keep that in mind. But it’s just another go place to go in Austin.

The list above are just some places I like to go to see lights and decorations in Austin. It’s not a lot on your budget and there fun to go to. Austin does have many things to do during the holidays like ice skating at Whole Foods headquarters or attending Circuit of Americas’s. However, the above list are my favorites. Also, Austin has an all year Christmas bar called Lala’s, for your Christmas blues.

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Dallas and Thanksgiving

Dallas was my destination for Thanksgiving. My siblings live there and my niece and nephew. It was Thanksgiving and family is a must. I drove on Thursday morning from Austin, its a nice drive because of no traffic. All I had eaten was pretzels because I was saving room for a lovely Thanksgiving meal. The meal was a amazing and I was glad I saved room for it. After, we relaxed and ate pie, of course. I feel like our Thanksgiving tradition is going to the movies in the evening. Because that’s we have been doing for the past couple of years. We saw the movie Coco and loved it. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must see. The next three days were filled with new memories.

On Friday we went to Carrollton Texas. It was a cute little town that decorated for Christmas. Carrollton was filled with antique shops, a coffee shop, restaurants, and a candy store. I really wanted go to the coffee shop and have a peppermint Mocha but that didnt happen. Instead, we looked and bought candy at the candy shop. Then we had delicious fried chicken at Babe’s. When you go to Babe’s all you have to do is order the meat and they bring you the sides (mashed potatoes, green beans, and corn). It was all delicious and a good place to take family. For the night we saw the movie Wonder at the theater Look.

 

Bishop Arts is a neighborhood in Dallas, I had been wanting to visit it for awhile. Its a neighborhood known for its trendy eatiers, shops, and bars. Its a good brunch place area and a good place to get a drink. They also host family-friendly events, wine walks, and street fairs. At Bishop Arts, My sister and I went to a pizza place called Enos and got a drink at Whitehall Exchange after. We drank our wine and catched up. I really had a good time at Bishop Arts, I liked the neighborhood and I feel like it has a lot to offer. They have art galleries, a record shop, and a cider place that I want to visit. Also, im hoping to attend their mimosa walk.

My last day in Dallas, my family and I went to brunch at a place called Yolk. I was excited to try it out because the menu located amazing and my brother had told me about it. I ended up ordering a simple breakfast that had eggs, potatoes, and pancakes. With an orange juice and coffee. My breakfast was amazing and I definitely want to go back. My family also loved their breakfast and the service. Yolk also has other locations in Chicago, Ft. Worth, and Indianapolis. After brunch, we went to Carlo’s Bakery and had cupcakes. I ordered an Oreo cupcake and its one of the popular choices because it’s delicious. Then it was time for me to go home to Austin. I said my goodbyes and drove back. I always have a good time visiting my brother and sister in Dallas. Especially, for holidays. Dallas is like another second home to me.

Pack up & Go

It doesn’t matter to me if I plan my whole trip or if someone else does. The point is I’m traveling and happy about it. So when I heard about this United States travel agency called Pack up and go, I got interested. This company sets up a 3 weekend get away for you: they chose the place, hotel, and recommends areas to visit. Basically, you wont know where in the United States you are visiting until the day of the flight.

In the future, I am considering setting up a trip with Pack Up & Go. I can’t wait to find out the place, they will choose for me based on my likes.  The way it work is they have you do a survey, on where they ask if its a single person trip or multi traveler, how much you want to spend, where you have been recently (to avoid going to a place you have visited), and what your likes are for a trip. Then they set everything up. No stress on setting anything up and you get surprised with a trip visit. I wanted to share about this Travel Agency, in case its something y’all would be interested in. I know some people like to plan their own trips but if you want to be surprised this is an option.

If you want more information here is their website: packupgo.com

 

Halloween Brunch

Usually Halloween activities occur at night. There is late night Halloween parties,  late night horror movies, or a late night Haunted House visit. Even trick treating is in the evening. Well, it was when I was a kid. This Halloween was different, I attended a Halloween brunch. The brunch was hosted by a friend of mine and she did a fantastic job. Her husband helped too. I just loved the idea of a Halloween brunch. I love brunch and Halloween is fun, combing the two is amazing and cute.

The brunch was hosted on a Sunday and a brunch buffet was included. The buffet had waffles, scrambled eggs, kolaches, fruit, and mimosas. It was amazing and I defentiely went for seconds. I brought my Polaroid camera and had fun taking pictures like it was 1977. We took pictures, ate, talked, and just had a good time. For the Halloween brunch activity, we carved pumpkins. It was my first time, pumpkin carving too.  It was a fun and an interesting experience. My friend helped me and I think the pumpkin came out pretty good. It is now on my balcony.

Halloween weekend couldn’t of been more fun. I even got a little pumpkin as a Halloween gift. Hanging out with friends never gets old and neither is celebrating Halloween.

Things to do in Seattle

I had been wanting to visit Seattle for awhile now. I wanted to experience the coffee culture and see the beautiful scenery. I thought why not go to Seattle for my 30th birthday and that is what I did. Well, I did a pre-birthday vacation.

Last week was the first time I visited Seattle for my pre-birthday celebration. I did drive past Seattle once but that’s all it was a drive. This time I did experience Seattle and it was amazing.  I wanted to share with everyone about things to do there. First let me talk about the weather in October, it was in the 40’s and 50’s Fahrenheit and it was cloudy with some rain. However, I did experience some sunny days.  It was a fun experience and here is some fun stuff to see and do in Seattle.

Seattle Views:

  1. Smith Tower- This is a skyscraper building in pioneer square (downtown) that was build in 1914. It’s the oldest skyscraper in the city and and has an amazing view of Seattle. It’s about $14.00 dollars to get to the top and enjoy the view and the bar.
  2. Space Needle Observation Deck- I had to come here because its the Space Needle. The tickets here were a bit more expensive about $20-$25. It is another beautiful view of Seattle. However, keep in mind this place will be more crowded because it is a tourist area. 22291267_10103734487758645_961902412647289867_o
  3. Columbia Center- This is another skyscraper in Seattle with a good view. A couple of Seattle locals told me it’s the best view of Seattle. Unfortunately, I did not get to go but if locals recommend it, that is a good sign. I know the tickets here are cheaper than the Space Needle. Also, they have food and drinks at the top.
  4. Kerry Park- This a free area that has another great view of Seattle. I went at night and there was a lot people there taking pictures. Its interesting because this park is in the middle of a neighborhood but I liked it. I took the pictures I needed and just enjoyed the view.

Coffee Culture:

  1. Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room- I considered this a brewery for coffee. Here you can really experience coffee by seeing your coffee being roasted or by scooping up coffee beans in the coffee scoop bar. This Starbucks has a variety of flavors to add to your coffee. I ordered a cold brew coffee with ginger and it was delicious. The servers are very helpful here and definitely know their coffee.
  2. First Starbucks- yes another Starbucks but come on its Starbucks. This location is in Pike’s Place Market. It opened in 1971 where they sold coffee beans. The coffee shop is actually small but its cool to be in the first Starbucks with the original logo. Keep in mind that this is very very touristy.
  3. Pruf-Cafe & Bar: A little cute coffee shop, I found walking around Seattle. They have a nice upstairs area to sit down and enjoy your coffee. My vanilla latte was delicious and the service was great.

Museum:

  1. Museum of Pop Culture: I loved this museum! It has a music section of famous musicians, a sci-fi section, a horror section, and a fantasy section. They even have a Jim Henson section. Each section had costumes of famous artists and information on them. The ticket is about $30 and it is right next to the Space Needle. 22449770_10155137837240819_9121584457061343928_n

Market:

  1. Pikes Place Market: The market is a must see. You can buy groceries, eat at the restaurants, shop for almost anything or you can look at the gum-wall. Either way I really recommend coming here, even if it’s touristy.

Food:

  1. Biscuit & Bean: Perfect place for breakfast or bunch. They have a variety of biscuits and amazing coffee. I had a biscuit with herbed goat cheese, tomato jam, and cucumber.
  2. Ikina Sushi: The sushi was so good here and they have an amazing happy hour. Also, the servers and service made the place even more memorable.
  3. Beecher’s: Located in Pike’s Place. This restaurant makes their own cheese. My boyfriend and I tried their Mac & Cheese and it was amazing.

I loved Seattle. They have beautiful views, good food and coffee, and a great market. Next time I visit, I want to see Mt. Rainer up close and experience more of the nature of the city.  Seattle is a must see and I hope you enjoyed my recommendations.

Before a Trip

Trips are fun but they can be stressful to prepare for. Especially if its a long trip because there is way more things you have to prepare.  You have to get all your things together to pack and complete any errands.  If you have pets you have to make sure they’re taken care of. You might have to make photo copies of your passport for an international trip and other things.

My trip to Seattle is short but it’s coming up and I need to start preparing. Some of the first things I do before a trip are:

  1.  Errands: I will pay all bills and complete other errands before my trip. So, I don’t have worry about it when I am on my trip.
  2.  Take care of my cat:  I have a cat named Mocha and I make sure she is taken care of.  I can leave her alone for a couple days with enough food and water and a clean litter. However, if its more than 4 days I ask someone to check in on her.
  3.  Pack: I usually pack a day or two before my trip. This also consists of doing laundry, so I have clothes to pack. Since, I am going to Seattle I am going to pack for both warm and cold weather.
  4. Check in: The day before my flight, I will check in. For southwest, the earlier you check in the better boarding time you get.

There are just some things I do to prepare for a trip. It is different for me when I have an international trip because those trips are usually longer than a couple days. Also, I need to take more things with me. Even though it can be stressful to set up and prepare for a trip, once you’re at your destination its all worth it.

 

Flight changes

I was recently emailed by southwest that my Seattle flight was changed. I thought it was interesting because the time change was dramatic. Also, both my departure and arrival flights were changed. Originally, I was suppose to leave Austin at noon with no connecting flight and leave Seattle at noon with no connecting flight. It ended up changing with connecting flights and leaving early in the morning. My Austin flight to Seattle actually had two stops and I was not a fan. Especially, early in the morning. This is the first time my flight has been changed before the day of my flight. The emailed I received did not inform me that I could changed my flight. I was hoping by calling, I could change my flight or get a free drink ticket. I called Southwest and they were able to change my flight with no extra charge. My flight times are so much better and I’m excited for this trip. Also, I am very grateful that the lady from southwest was very nice and helpful.

For future reference, if you ever have a flight change before your fight date. Call the airline to change your flight for no extra cost. I am assuming other airlines will do this too, if you have proof your flight was changed by them. I had an email of my old flight times to show them. However, they had written notes on my account and that was their proof. This has only happen to me once. I am pretty sure the more you fly, the more it happens. This was a learning experience for me. Sometimes simple things like a flight change can help you learn something new.