This past Saturday I got my chance to experience Afternoon Tea. It was for my friend’s 30th birthday. Reservations were made at Hotel Ella in Austin and it was $25 dollars per person. To help us choose our tea, our sever let us smell the teas. I got the tea called Tropical green. It consisted of green tea, with pineapple and papaya. I think I made a good decision with my tea because it was delicious. When we got our tea stand, our server told us to start from the bottom. He told us to start on the bottom because that was the unsweet option and the top was the sweetest. The bottom was cute finger sandwiches. My favorite was the chicken salad sandwich. The middle was blueberry scones with jam, and the top was macaroons and chocolate. All delicious and it hit the spot. The service was excellent and our server was very informative about the the tea’s and food. Also, Hotel Ella in Austin is beautiful and it was the perfect setting for a friend’s birthday.
I lived in San Antonio Texas for 9 years and I have never written a blog about it. Now this is my chance to talk about the amazing city. San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the United States and it’s known for its culture, Tex-Mex food and tourist attractions. One of the best times to visit is from October to March when it’s not hot. I feel like San Antonio has many attractions. Some popular ones would be The Alamo and the Riverwalk.
San Antonio has a variety of restaurants but Tex-Mex is what its known for. You can definitely get your delicious Tex-Mex fix in San Antonio. The following restaurants are some of my favorites.
Sangria on the Burg:
The menu consists of a combination of Tex-Mex, bbq, and Mexican Spices. They have mimosa and sangria flights. They also change their food menu often, so you can get a different food item, each time you visit.
This restaurant, is a family owned bakery that serves sweet bread and great sandwiches. It revolves around Latin American bread and culture. I think it’s a great place to have lunch with friends. All the sandwiches are amazing and it comes with Fideo (soup). They have two locations in San Antonio, one on broadway street and downtown.
Data Point is a good place for Tex-Mex food even late. Like after the bars late. Datapoint originally started as a food truck but now they have a brick and mortar store. It’s not only good for dinner but breakfast or lunch. They have amazing breakfast tacos. However, my favorite is their cheese enchilada plate.
Tower of America’s
Here you can get a great view of San Antonio, grab a drink or an appetizer and enjoy the view. They also offer tours, if you’re interested. The Tower of America’s is located in Hemisfair Park near downtown.
The Pearl Brewery is located north of downtown San Antonio, It was an operating brewery from 1883 to 2001. Now it’s a retail space that has dining options, green spaces, and a riverside amphitheater. Come here walk around, take pictures, or grab a drink. One of my favorites is La Gloria to grab a margarita or get a coffee at Local Coffee Shop.
This neighborhood is known for its historic homes and artsy district. One of the best times to visit is for First Friday of the month, they have an art scene at The Blue Star Arts Complex. Southtown is also known for its nightlife, coffee shops, galleries, studios, and restaurants. They also have amazing views of the residential part of the Riverwalk.
The trails are located along the San Antonio River. It’s a great place to bike or walk along the trials and explore old neighborhoods. They have four Spanish Colonial missions: Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan, and Espada. I have actually only visited one of the Colonial missions, Concepcion. I hope to visit the others soon.
A touristy area but worth a visit. The Riverwalk is beautiful, along the river there is restaurants, the Riverwalk mall, and candy shops. I love to go to the Riverwalk just to walk around, and enjoy the river. One of my favorite times to go is during Christmas when they have all their Christmas decorations
San Antonio is one of my favorite cities and I love to visit often. This blog talks about some of my favorite things to do there. I know I didn’t mention the Alamo because I wanted to talk about other things you can see. The Alamo is great to visit and its near the Riverwalk. If you haven’t visited San Antonio, I would plan a trip to try that Tex-Mex food and see/experience the amazing attractions.
One of my favorite memories of 2017 was visiting Hamilton Pool. Hamilton Pool Preserve is a natural pool located in Central Texas. The pool is located in a city called Dripping Springs and is about 23 miles from Austin. I had been wanting to visit this natural pool for a while and it’s not a far drive for me. Hamilton Pool is even on my Texas Bucket List on a past blog that I wrote. I kept seeing beautiful pictures of the pool, read about it in articles, and heard about it from friends. So this past summer, I went. A friend of mine made a reservation and we met up in Dripping Springs and drove to Hamilton Pool. We brought snacks, drinks, towels, and of course our bathing suites. Swimming status at Hamilton is determined by the bacteria levels and recent rainfall. Unfortunately, during the time we visited we could not swim. Which in a way was a good thing because it made the area way less populated. There was a couple of other families there but it was not crowded. We were able to lay down our towels, eat our snacks and drinks, take pictures, and catch up.
When we first got to Hamilton Pool, there is an employee that asks for your reservation. In the summer reservations fill up. Even weeks in advance, so you have to book early. After, we parked we had to hike about 5 minutes to get to the pool. The pool was beautiful better than any picture I had seen. The pool is surround by large slabs of limestone with a water fall that makes the pool stand out. You can climb by the slabs and go under the waterfall to get a better view.
Even though it was a hot day and a swim would have been the icing on the cake. I still had a great time. I enjoyed my time with my friends, I got to see beautiful views, and it was not crowded. The drive and parking were easy and we had plenty of space to have a picnic. I couldn’t ask for a better day. I do hope to go to Hamilton pool, maybe a day where it’s not to hot but still perfect for a swim. Hamilton Pool is now checked off my Texas Bucket List!
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:
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 multiple booths to get hot chocolate and coffee. Its a great place to walk around and 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 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 good place to go to 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.
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.
I went to my hometown about three weekends ago. Going back home, always brings up so many memories. That weekend, I went looking around my old drawers and found my old shoe box. The box is filled with notes from my high-school friends and other high-school things. One thing I found was napkin from a local coffee shop that I use to go to. The coffee shop was called Open and is no longer in business. This wasn’t just an ordinary Open napkin. It was a napkin that friends of mine and I wrote our dreams and made a promise. To me that is an irreplaceable napkin. This all happen when I was a sophomore in high-school around February 2004.
Back in February of 2004, 3 friends of mine and I went to a local coffee shop, Open. We sat down talked about lives and drank Frappuccinos. We talked mostly about our future. The typical question we asked each other was, where do you see yourself in 10 years? We each decided to answer this question on the coffee shop napkin and promised to meet in the same spot 10 years later. I remember that we wrote on 4 napkins, so we each had one. On the napkin, I wrote that I wanted to open a coffee shop in New York city. I don’t know what to say about that, I had many dreams back then. Other friends of mine wrote that they wanted to travel, become an actress, or a real estate agent. I know my friend that wanted to travel, did travel. I lost contact with my other two friends. I hope they accomplished what they wanted to accomplished and that they’re happy.
The whole meeting back in 10 years did not happen. We never even discussed that meeting after that point. I actually wouldn’t of remember about this memory if I didn’t find the napkin. Even the spot we were suppose to meet up is not a coffee shop anymore. It’s actually a sushi place now but I do like the restaurant. We still could of met at that restaurant. However, that did not happen on February of 2014 but I am grateful for that meeting. I am still in contact with one of them but we never discussed the napkin thing. I am glad I kept the napkin, it helps me remember past me. I think we tend to forget how we felt in the past, what are dreams were, and what are life was like. That is one of reasons I kept all those notes and memories in that shoe box. When ever I go back home, I try to look at my old shoe box, pictures, and journal and reminisce.
If y’all have seen the show, Fixer Upper. You know about the Magnolia Market in Waco TX. I actually just started watching the show in June but I had heard about the Market before. Basically, whether you watch the show or not you have probably heard about Magnolia Market.
I went to Magnolia Market this past Saturday with friends. The market closes at 6 PM daily and is closed Sunday. We left Austin at 2:30 PM and between Austin and Waco it’s about an hour and half. We made in time with plenty of time to spare. When we first drove in, we passed by the bakery and saw the long line and we decided to skip that. Next time I want to get a cupcake though. The market has a bakery, a garden, food trucks, and a grassy area to relax and play. The grassy area was one of my favorites of the market. Kids were playing soccer and football and families were relaxing. The sense I got at Magnolia Market is that it’s more than a market, its a place to relax and hang out.
We were able to get free parking and after we walked right inside the Market. Well, first we took pictures by the Silos and checked out the food trucks. They have a variety of different food trucks from actual meals, to desserts, and coffee. I got a coffee at the Common Grounds food truck, they also have a brick in mortar by Baylor. I got the coffee before we left and checked out the market. The Market is amazing; they have so many items to buy for your home. The items can get pricey but they do have a discount section. Make sure to check out that, when you go. My friends and I just walked around and enjoyed what we saw. The market was packed but we had enough room to walk around. I also made a purchase, I bought a mug. We were not at Magnolia for long because we were attending the UTSA vs. Baylor football game. A friend of mine and I plan to attend Magnolia again soon. We want to get there early to enjoy the bakery, more of the market, and food trucks. The coffee I got at Common Grounds food truck was the cowboy iced coffee. It has a secret sauce, drip coffee, and half and half. It was what I needed to wake me up before the game.
I definitely recommend checking out Magnolia Market, its better than I thought it would be. It’s more than just a market and something for everyone to enjoy. I really hope to visit again during Christmas time.
This past weekend, I wanted to get away from Austin and experience a new environment. So, on Saturday afternoon my boyfriend and I went to Wimberley Texas. It was a quick one day road trip. Wimberley is a cute little town 40 minutes from Austin. I heard great things about the area and I wanted a taste for myself. Wimberley has beautiful swimming holes, cute restaurants, and some wineries. A friend of mine told me about a restaurant called The Leaning Pear. The restaurant was beautiful. The ambiance was nice both inside and outside. We sat inside because its Texas and its summer. For the appetizer we ordered a queso. For the entrees, my boyfriend got mac and cheese and I got the meat loaf with mashed potatoes. All I can say is everything was delicious and the service was amazing.
After dinner, I wanted to check out more of the town. We drove around and stopped by a wine shop called Hill Country Wine Shoppe. The place smelled amazing because of a candle that the shop just unlit. The lady at the store recommended some wine tastings. They have 3 options you can have a red wine taste, a white wine taste, or a sweet wine taste. Then they choose the 7 wine samples for you. My option was the white wine tastings. My favorite wine ended up being Mary Ruth and I bought bottle. Also, I bought a candle. The wine tasting was $7.00, bottle $28.00, and candle $13.00. The lady gave us the idea of going by the creek and drinking my wine because you can drink outside in Wimberley. But instead my boyfriend I stood by the creek and admired it’s beauty. Then, I drank my wine at home.
My mini road trip to Wimberley was a good gateway day. I wanted to get out of Austin for a bit and explore another city. Especially a cute little town. I want to visit the Blue Hole swimming hole and relax. Definitely another Texas Bucket list thing.
Brunch is my favorite meal of the day. Combing both breakfast and lunch, is one of the greatest inventions ever made. For me brunch is more than just food. It’s a time where I can get together with friends. We will meet up on a Saturday or Sunday early afternoon and just sip our mimosas or bloody Mary’s and just talk. To be honest, I don’t know what can beat that. This helps me relive my stress and be around great supported people. There is times, I do brunch alone to have quality time with myself. A very calming and relaxing feeling. Since, I have a love for brunch I wanted to name 3 of my favorites in Austin.
- Counter Cafe: Is an American Diner that servers fresh, local and organic food. It was established in 2006 and has two locations in Austin on N Lamar blvd and East 6th street. They serve brunch Monday thru Sunday till 4:30 PM. They have delicious scrambled eggs and are probably the best I have ever had.
- East Side Cafe: This restaurant opened in 1988 and it was the first restaurant to open on the street, manor road. The restaurant servers herbs and vegetables from their own garden. They serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
- Little Barrel and Brown: serves American cuisine and opened in December 2013. They serve brunch on Saturday’s and Sunday from 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM. They also have delicious scrambled eggs and they serve their drinks in a mason jar. It’s located on Annie and South congress in Austin.
Brunch is more amazing when you have a good place. The places above are great places to go to whenever your in Austin Texas, when you want some eggs and bacon with mimosa or a Bloody Mary. Whether your with friends, a significant other, or alone brunch is good start to the day.