Category

Travel

Places: Texas, Travel

Quick Trips: Houston, TX

Put It On Your Bucket List: The Houston Rodeo reached a record high attendance this year at approximately 2,611,676 people!  The show features rodeo action (bull riding), livestock competitions, concerts, a huge carnival, pig racing, barbecue, International Wine Competition, shopping, sales and livestock auctions.

( v i a )


If you’re following along on Snapchat (UN: MissBassmaster) or Instagram, you’ll have noticed I spent the weekend in Houston. Wafiq & I had tickets to the Houston Rodeo –  When in Texas, right?

Quick-Trips_Houston

Quick-Trips_Houston

Hermann Park

Quick-Trips_Houston

Workout w/a view // (Camp Gladiator)

As long as I’ve lived in Austin you’d think I would know more about Houston & Dallas but I definitely don’t – other than the reputation that Houston is hot & humid, which is enough to keep me away most of the year.

I brought my princess child so we did our best to do & go places that were pet friendly. We ate A LOT but every single thing we had & place we went was delicious!  I’m pretty picky when it comes to eating out. Like, really picky.  Because I make most of my meals at home & love cooking, I don’t like eating out – it’s never as good as my own kitchen!  And I imagine where the food came from, who touched it, how long it’s been in the freezer, what ingredients were added (I worked in a kitchen while in High School, I know too much).

Quick-Trips_Houston Tiny Boxwoods

@ Tiny Boxwoods

Quick-Trips_Houston Tiny Boxwoods

Tiny Boxwoods Nursery

Quick-Trips_Houston Brasil Cafe

Quick-Trips_Houston Brasil Cafe

Cafe Brasil // Brasil Benedict & Eggs w/Salmon

Food I Loved:

Tiny Boxwoods //  I think this restaurant was created for me.  Tiny Boxwoods is a café/restaurant in the middle of a flower nursery.  I mean, it doesn’t get better than that for me.  Take a stroll through the nursery while sipping Rose.  Even before the food I was hooked, but once I took a bite of the pizza I was SOLD.   From the instagramable moments, the relaxed setting, the incredibly fresh & flavorful food, the superior service – Tiny Boxwoods was by far my favorite.  We finished the meal with a cookie… and 4 to-go.  (They’re opening one in Austin soon.)

Brasil Café //  After our morning workout happened shockingly well, we hit up Brasil Café & as we were sipping coffee,  working our way through the Brasil Benedict & Eggs, we were proud of this decision.  Exactly the place we were looking for, an easy Saturday morning breakfast with bae (Bernice).

Boheme //  This place was cute.  We went at night & the lighting was a little romance.  There’s plenty of seating & a generally good atmosphere.  We tried their popular Vietnamese Fries << Spicy!

Axelrad // I wish there was somewhere close to my house similar to Axelrad.  Luigi’s Pizza is next door so you can order your pizza & eat it at Axlerad while you drink wine/beer & listen to music.  They have tons of seating, a huge projector, and hammocks as seating.  Very chill place, great spot to end a busy day.

Barnaby’s Café //  The only problem here was portion control.  I felt like their burgers & salads were HUGE. Needless to say, the general atmosphere of this place hit the spot for a Sunday morning meal.   Burgers, salads, and Strawberry mimosa’s… Perfect!

Quick-Trips_Houston(7)

Quick-Trips_Houston(7)

This animal sold for $345,000 !

Quick-Trips_Houston Rodeo

Obsessed w/all the dresses (w/pockets) @ Zara right now // Dress: H E R E

Quick-Trips_Houston

Brad Paisley concert after the Rodeo

Besides the food, we spent most of Saturday at the Rodeo.  Wafiq & I have never seen actual bull riding & horse bucking before so this was a new experience.

I would say anyone who keeps a bucket list needs to add the Houston Rodeo to it.

I’m SO happy we experienced this now, while we’re in Texas & have the opportunity.  We felt like we were in an old Western movie.  I’m desperately searching for Western belt buckles & cowboy hats for both Wafiq & I.  There truly is nothing sexier than a Cowboy.   Take a trip to the Houston Rodeo & you’ll get it.

Both of us were ecstatic no one died.  I was very confident, at minimum, 1 person dies per rodeo.

Quick-Trips_Houston

Little babies herding sheep

OMG I almost forgot to mention, we watched the dog herding competition prior to the rodeo.  The dogs herd sheep through an obstacle & into their cage under a certain time limit.  I cried twice.  I couldn’t bare seeing the doggies lose!  They were working so hard!  Each dog looked like my little Bernice so I imagined how disappointed she would feel if she failed me.

So, I cried.

Wafiq made us leave.  I seriously question how I could ever have a child, I’ll cry at the freaking spelling bee!!!  I can’t.  My emotions can’t handle it.  Hats off to parents.

Besides the Rodeo we spent Sunday at Hermann Park.  They had a little kite festival, perfect weather, and a huge ass blooming conservancy – of course that’s where you could find us.  We loved it. Bernice loved it. Parks are our jam.

Quick-Trips_Houston

Hermann Park

Quick-Trips_Houston(4)

Look at those tree vines!

Houston was fun! So much bigger than Austin & diverse, I miss big cities 🙁

I hope you’re off having a great week & enjoying the blooming… As always, be thoughtful

Xx

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Life, Travel

How A Poem Cleared Up My Weird Travel Emotions

Did You Know?  1/3 of the world’s airports are located in the U.S. ( v i a )


I was looking through poetry the other day for National Poetry Day & the next thing I know 4 hours passed, I ordered 6 poetry books off Amazon, & I confessed to Wafiq that I’m going to become a song writer.

This too shall pass.

When You Don't Want To Travel

One poem really stood out.  Take a quick read:

Let me tell the tale
Of a girl who didn’t stop
Who climbed up every mountain
Without a pause upon the top
She’d dance until each blade of grass
Was clothed in drops of dew
And the sun knew her by name
But the silver moon did too
For a fear had setled in her bones
A fear of sitting still
That if you’re not moving forward
It must mean you never will
So in time her dance got slower
And she looked at all she’d seen
But found gaps inside the places
That she’d never fully been
For she was a human doing
Human moving, human seeing
But she’d never taken time
To simply be a human being
– e.h

When You Don't Want To Travel

When I came back from Dubai I couldn’t figure out why I hated the idea of traveling so much.  The biggest drag was talking travel.  I couldn’t get inspired or motivated to think about vacations, explorations, studying abroad, beaches, getaways, culture, language, hotels.  BLAH.

And this feeling stuck with me until about 3 months ago.  I spent at least a year in that feeling of travel = BLAH.   I wasn’t even the slight bit interested when I met someone with an international accent, or recently back from another country.  It was weird (…and now I’m realizing a little racist?)  I used to DIE to ask people thousands of questions about their recent vacations or country/state of origin, but I found myself completely uninterested.  (I wrote this post: here during that time, and I can tell, HA!)

I was pretty confused as to why.  After all, I’m the girl that moved across the country after high school, studied abroad by myself in a country that I didn’t know the language (at all), moved across the world with a suitcase & no clue what the hell I was going to do!  Travel gave me life & truly fulfilled my spirit…  I used to spend my life googling where to go & what to do. Who I could meet & where.  How I would get there & how I would convince my family I wasn’t crazy.

Why the fuck couldn’t I be amused by it now??!!  I felt really bad.  Not even a beach vacation?!  Boooooring.

Give-Yourself-A-Break(3)

When I read this poem it made sense to me.  I was always moving, moving, moving, & going, going, going… I swear even if other people didn’t see it, all they had to do was be in my mind.  FULL of plans & what’s next, constantly.  So afraid of stillness because it meant being stuck.

Without much intention, the past year I’ve gone to bed amazed with what I have & my routine.  I got way better at taking time to be present & patient, which I’ve never done before.  I literally look at the wall of the rooms where I live & am like “hot damn Katie, you’re fucking living. YES! YES!”. HA!

Although all of those moving, moving, moving choices gave me the best experiences of my life, this is a new kind of best experience – Like they have all been.  To be still for a quick minute & feel the stillness is a brand spanking new best experience.  Making sense?

When You Don't Want To Travel

Now, do I have plans to pick up my shit & move to Iceland tomorrow?  Maybe…  I’m getting back to feeling excited about travel & adventures, but it took some time.  This poem helped me feel excited about that time, like I’m not going to miss out on being a “human being”.  I want to be a human being too!  Not just a Human Moving OR a Human Doing!  A Human Being!

Anyways, because this particular poem helped me understand myself a little better I really wanted to share it.  I wish I read it when I was in the thick of “TRAVEL = BLAH” because it would’ve helped me feel comfortable with the feeling.

Thoughts?

As always, be thoughtful…

Xx

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Places: Texas, Travel

20 Things To Do in Austin, Texas – Your Checklist

Did you know?  Austin is where to be in 2017 – Economists say 2017 will be another strong year for Austin. With at least 30,000 newcomers moving to the area every year and 100 every day

( v i a )


20 Things to DO in Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas is packed to the rims right now for SXSW.  The festival goes from March 10th – March 19th and is loaded with all kinds of events including movie premieres, concerts, networking parties, fashion meet ups, comedy shows, food & brunches, film screenings, speakers, & people snap chatting… among other things.

It’s a time when I’m proud to live in Austin.  The weather is nice, people enjoy all parts of the city & they come from everywhere.

 

Amy's Ice Cream

Amy’s Ice Cream – always, Mexican Vanilla w/ M&M’s

South Congress Avenue

Outside Jo’s Coffee on S.Congress // I love youuu so much

I wanted to make a quick list of things to do in Austin if you’re visiting & don’t have a SXSW access badge OR you want a break from all the SXSW activities & want to experience more of what Austin has to offer.

This list is quick & to the point!  But I highly recommend anything you can get checked off, whether you’re visiting now or in the future this list will work all year long.

Pennybacker Bridge

Views of Pennybacker Bridge / 360 Bridge


20 Things To Do In Austin – Checklist!

  1. Mount Bonnell or Pennybacker Bridge – Take a hike up either of these two spots for soothing views of Austin’s water

  2. Walk across South Congress bridge for pretty city views or an occasional bat

  3. A picture & coffee at the “I love you so much” sign at Jo’s coffee on South Congress

  4. EAT on South Congress – Home Slice Pizza, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Vespaio, South Congress Café, Guero’s, Perla’s, Café No Se

  5. If you’re hot, head to Barton Springs Pool near Zilker Park

  6. Eat a sweet dessert at Amy’s Ice Cream

  7. Check out the calendar for ACL Live performances

  8. Attend an Esther Follies show on 6th Street, if you can grab tickets before they’re gone!

  9. Walk 6th street in the evening & grab a drink… or a doughnut at Voodoo’s Doughnuts

  10. Enjoy drinks, yard games, and live music on Rainy Street – a block of houses turned bars

  11. Peter Pan Mini Golf because BYOB, close to downtown, & a little competition is always a good idea

  12. Take a walk through Zilker Park or Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail

  13. Rent a canoe or paddle board off Lady Bird Lake

  14. Eat BBQ at Lambert’s, on 2nd Street – then grab a drink & head upstairs for live music

  15. Find live music anytime on 6th street, Rainy Street, or South Congress

  16. Try a breakfast Taco at Torchy’s Tacos or Tacodeli

  17. Also, can’t leave without a couple rounds of Queso – always order it off the menu…

  18. If time permits, check out Austin’s second downtown: The Domain.  Tons of shopping, entertainment & food!

  19. Near The Domain – Top Golf  (fun for even the worst golfers)

  20. If you’re in Austin for awhile, drive out to Fredericksburg for wine tasting or hike Enchanted Rock / If hiking isn’t your thing, head to San Marcos Outlets for major shopping (<< dangerous)


6th Street

6th Street

Austin Downtown

Zilker Park

Zilker Park

Welcome to AUstin Sign

Greetings from Austin mural // South 1st & Annie Street

Let me know if you have anything to add! Even though I’ve lived here for what feels like forever I’m constantly discovering new things in this ever changing city.

Have a great rest of the week & as always, be thoughtful…

Xx

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Travel

A Lot of Lovin in Monterrey, Mexico

Did You Know? During traditional Mexican weddings, the bride & groom are linked together with a Lazo to symbolize their joining in love and trust.  The Lazo is placed by sponsors either around the couple’s necks, shoulders or wrists.

The placement of the Lazo occurs during a special wedding prayer, after the bride and groom have exchanged vows. The couple wears the Lazo throughout the remainder of the service and the couple keeps the Lazo as a keepsake. ( v i a )


Fitting in perfectly with the theme of L O V E through February, I went to a gorgeous wedding in Monterrey, Mexico last weekend.

Monterrey-Mexico

Love exuberated over the entire evening, from the church to the reception to the dancing.

The best way I can describe the night was being flooded with emotion, in a way that stuck with me for a few days.  I looked at the bachelor’s around me & you could see a sparkle in their eyes throughout the evening as well, you literally couldn’t help feeling a deep love throughout the entire wedding.

What perfect timing for an experience like that.

Monterrey Mexico

Monterrey-Mexico

The couple was stress free, focused on each other, mature, unbearably excited, and authentically themselves and that radiated to the guests.

I’m still a bit speechless.

Monterrey Mexico

Monterrey-Mexico

Dress: HERE

 

Monterrey Mexico

Monterrey Mexico

As far as Monterrey, I’ve never been before.  A few friends of mine have family from there so I was excited to put a name to a place.  I love traveling to locations that carry meaning.

Whether a small town in Mexico where friends grew up or Amsterdam where I was able to visit the Anne Frank Museum which I dreamed of being able to do since the 3rd grade.

Giving myself purpose behind a trip adds spice.

Monterrey-Mexico

Having said that, it was raining & cloudy most of our trip. We were looking forward to visiting the mountains and walking through the parks but the fog was pretty low.  STILL, we made the most of it.

If you follow my Instagram you’ll notice we managed to meet an Egyptian man selling eye lash glue.  I made myself as high maintenance as humanly possible & went on the hunt for glue to pin down my fake eyelashes.  Real winner girlfriend here.   After struggling through Spanish to explain that I was looking for eyelash glue we received scribbled down directions, also in Spanish, to a market down the street.  These are the moments Wafiq falls in love with me, a Scavenger hunt in the Mexican streets at night with super white American blonde chick, real adventurous.

 Monterrey Mexico

After many corn stands & wrong left turns, we arrived at a huge market with thousands of standing booths inside.  The Lord himself directed us to a booth with Arabic writing on the top.  DING. DING. Eyelash glue.

Wafiq noticed Arabic and started speaking with the man running the booth while I jumped around the market with joy over our accomplishment.  The gentleman managed to leave Egypt 7 years ago, then married a Venezuelan woman while living in Mexico, and now they have a 2 year old Mexican child.   Tons of culture in one conversation.  I think he felt bad for Wafiq & decided it was imperative I take the eyelash glue for free.

Monterrey Mexico

 

Hotel: Here

 

 Monterrey Mexico

Monterrey Mexico

Monterrey Mexico

Monterrey Mexico

We ate tons of great food, drank WAY more tequila than I thought my body would tolerate, and I managed to survive yet another plane ride.

I definitely want to visit Monterrey again & am needing suggestions.  I want to go back & find the prettiest churches, the most delicious foods, and the best views – any advice will be appreciated.

 Monterrey Mexico

Have a great weekend, get outside in the fresh air and as always, be thoughtful 🙂

Xx

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Austin City Limits Music Festival

Austin City Limits Music Festival weekend 1 is officially behind us…

austin-city-limits-music-festival

The weather couldn’t have been any better which made for a less exhausting festival.  In previous years it was HOT and by the time any of the headlining performers started I was ready to shower & sleep, so I happily welcomed the fresh weather.

austin-city-limits-music-festival3

Performers included: Band of Horses, M83, Major Lazer, Radiohead, Die Antwood, Bomba Estereo, Andrew Bird, The Chainsmokers, Kendrick Lamar, LCD Soundsystem, HAIM and the list goes on…

Sunday was my favorite – Chris Stapleton & his wife performed (so romance) and Mumford & Son’s closed the festival afterwards. Made for a happy day of music.

austin-city-limits-music-festival6

My other favorite was the tostones at the food station?!  AKA fried plantains. I haven’t had the luxury of eating those since I lived in the Dominican Republic and boy was that a freaking treat.  If anyone visits or is in Austin and wants to find them, the place was called mmmpanadas.  I believe it’s a food truck.  Excellent bonus to the entire festival.  (Food really makes me happy.)

austin-city-limits-music-festival-p-terrys

P Terry’s – Local to Austin

If anyone is considering visiting Austin, this is a pretty fun time to come. The weather is excellent & the festival is promising, even if you don’t know the lineup you’ll still enjoy the music.  You can go one day, or all three.

If you enjoy music & being outside – it’s a perfect event to throw into your getaway.  The location is great, the Austin skyline in the background is picture perfect, and you can try all of Austin’s local food in one place (HA! #priorities).

 austin-city-limits-music-festival4

A couple festival tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to bring chairs if you like to sit, you can always check them in if you don’t want to carry them around all day

  • Bring a sheet to throw down and have a seat anywhere

  • Umbrella? Fantastic idea for the rain & sun

  • Consider bringing an empty lunch box that you can fill with ice when you’re inside, can save you in the long run

  • Don’t drink too much alcohol or overdose on drugs (I saw a lot of children that looked close to that and it makes me never want to have kids).

 austin-city-limits-music-festival2

Overall, a nice weekend adventure down in the books!

Other favorite music festivals to check out?

Have a great day & be thoughtful

Xx

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Places: Minnesota, Travel

Weekend Getaway: Minneapolis & St. Paul Itinerary

I grew up in Minnesota but I left when I was 18 so I never had the chance to experience Minneapolis in the way I’ve experienced other cities.

Each time I go back to visit family, I try to explore Minnesota  more & more.

minneapolis- itinerary 5

When I run into someone that’s visited or lived in Minneapolis – they always express how much they loved it, & I’m major jeal.  I left before I ever had the chance!

Below is a list of what I’ve cumulated so far to add to your Minneapolis/St. Paul itineraries.

minneapolis - itinerary 8

Cute lil gift left right here for us – St. Paul

minneapolis - itinerary 10

Lake Harriet & Lake Calhoun

minneapolis - itinerary

Saint Dinette – St. Paul

minneapolis - itinerary 13

Saint Dinette, Dumplings

Dine

St. Dinette – St. Paul // Big windows, great atmosphere, not too expensive, and friendly staff.  I’m really glad we decided to stop and grab a bite to eat, our favorite on the menu (we tried a lot) were the dumplings, but I believe they’re known for their cheeseburger.

Bachelor Farmer – Minneapolis // Stopped at the cafe for a small bite to eat & coffee before heading out for the day.  Healthy, fresh, friendly & convenient.  Great little outside patio to sit at when the weather is complimentary.

Izzy’s Ice Cream –  Minneapolis // Fucking delicious.  I’m not typically an ice cream fan but wanted to try Izzy’s because I’ve read the rav reviews.  The waffle cone was exemplary and so was the ice cream.  Worth the calories.

Kindee Thai Restaurant – Minneapolis // Completely random.  But we were starving & Wafiq is Arab so Thai happened.  Super impressed with this place, even though I noticed the Yelp reviews didn’t tend to say the same thing.  We went during Happy Hour, scored amazing appetizers, curry & wine. Delicious. Delicious. Delicious.

Rustica Bakery //  Wafiq said that was the best chocolate cake he’s ever eaten.  I’ll leave it at that.

minneapolis - itinerary 11

Foshay Tower

 minneapolis- itinerary 5

minneapolis- itinerary 2

Do

Bike Lake Harriet & Calhoun // We chose to walk around the lakes this trip, but biking them is a must if you visit.  You can rent bikes and follow a trail between the lakes.  The adventure will take you some time, but well worth it. Try to make it to Minnehaha Falls & eat at the restaurant Sea Salt.

Stone Arch Bridge // This entire area is so cool!  Walking the bridge, Guthrie theater, the nearby park, and condo’s made me want to move to Minneapolis.

Foshay Tower //  Totally worth the $8 for the Insta worthy views.  The W is located in the Foshay Tower & there’s a little museum at the top before you head out to the observation deck.

Mall Of America // You don’t have to go here, but I always do.  There’s so many stores in one location, the variety is a wonderful excuse to buy too many things.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts // Not a huge art person but the area is super pretty. There’s naked men statues.  Huge ceilings.  Interesting modern pieces.  And you can enjoy a relaxing free activity!  Right now, the Walker Art Museum is under construction – otherwise that’s probably another good one to check out.

minneapolis itinerary 3

minneapolis - itinerary 11

Minneapolis Museum of Art

minneapolis- itinerary 7

Stone Arch Bridge

minneapolis itinerary 4

Aww Minnesota – so calming. Have anything to add? What am I missing??

For more pictures, check out my Instagram.  I tried to keep up with posting a variety so you can have a front row look.

I can’t wait to go back in the winter w/an entirely new itinerary.  That’s what’s awesome about living in a state that has 4 wonderful seasons <–  I’m so jealous, I’ll be melting in desert forever.

minneapolis itinerary 4

Have a pretty day & be thoughtful!

Xx

 

Midwest inspired:

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Travel

Why It’s OK To Be A Tourist

I’m in a few travel groups on Facebook & Instagram + I follow a couple blogs that travel often. They’re all veteran travelers, or it appears that way. Maybe the most outspoken members are?

Being-a-Tourist-

One common theme I’ve seen a lot of since joining travel groups or following travel blogs is this idea to avoid extremely tourist travel locations or activities, with the idea to experience the destination as a local would.

Although I completely understand where that mentality is coming from and have been known to preach the same way, the more I see posts & conversations like this the more I start feeling like I need to defend tourist hot spots.

Being-a-Tourist_Times-Square

Times Square, New York

First, traveling isn’t easy for everyone. For someone who hasn’t previously had the opportunity to travel OR for someone who has never been courageous enough to explore – traveling can be very intimidating. The money, language, navigation, and companionship can be scary. Even for me, after traveling with zero percent idea what the hell I was doing and somehow surviving, traveling still gives me anxiety. Tourist locations can offer a little relief. You’re in a group of people who also, don’t know what the hell they’re doing. People are confused, taking pictures, lost, excited, eating terrible food, and probably dressed 180 degrees opposite of the local style.

Second, is this a competition of the most adventurous? Where’s the smallest crack in the ass restaurant I can go to in order to show I’m “one” with the culture, or sky dive down an erupting volcano in an undiscovered mountain range in order to show how much of the planet earth I’ve been to? Sometimes a girl just wants to see the Statue of Liberty, buy a $40 foam crown visor, and eat corn out of a cup!

Being-a-Tourist-New-York

Statue of Liberty, New York

I sway back and forth with the tourist vs local way to see a destination.

While living in Dubai, my very favorite thing to do was the desert Safari – and there is literally nothing more touristy to do in Dubai than that damn desert Safari. But I loved it. And participated whenever I had the chance. At the same time, I avoided the tourist restaurants like the plague. You couldn’t pay me to eat that shit.

Being-a-Tourist-Dominican-Republic

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

When I lived in the Dominican Republic, I LOVED eating the food at my host house because damnnnnnnn could my host mom cook a meal! (I’ll work on repeating some of those recipes for you guys.) And why would I eat at any popular restaurant over her meals?! HOWEVER, I spent several weekends at the resorts where you couldn’t find a single local. I laid out on the beach, drank dranks, chatted with Europeans & danced with other tourists to Dominican music… w/no Dominicans.

50/50

Being-a-Tourist-Henna

Desert Safari, Dubai

But what I want get across – if you want to do the desert safari in a car full of tourists or you want to take a ferry to the statue of liberty or you want to dance to Dominican music with no Dominicans IN the Dominican Republic: go ahead!

I would challenge someone that is going on a very touristy vacation to spend one night looking a little further for a restaurant that isn’t advertised, but the hotel check-in person recommends as their personal fav.

Or spend one afternoon shopping where a local buys their clothes.

Explore the local grocery store the hotel bartender goes to.

Finding something very simple to dig a little into the local culture will only make any travel experience more heartwarming, that’s what I’ve learned. HOWEVER, by all means stick to the tourist activities if you want to. Take pictures, look silly, talk to other tourists, because why not?

Being-A-Tourist-Amsterdam

Amsterdam

One thing I most definitely do not discriminate against – being a tourist.

I use my own judgement to decide between what’s a tourist trap and what’s simply a (sometimes) fun touristy activity. There’s a fine line for sure, but exploring both locally and w/in the tourist boarders is A-okay!

I’ve been wanting to get that off my chest for a really long time… I never want to talk about visiting a country, traveling or moving abroad in a way that’s intimidating or sets the bar high, or to be cool – because it shouldn’t be.

Thoughts?!

 

 

Happy exploring!!

Xx

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Places: Texas, Travel

A Day In San Antonio, Texas

Last week Wafiq & I went to San Antonio for a couple days because the immigration office is located there and he had a meeting… I took it as a stellar excuse to get out of Austin.

 San-Antonio-Texas

We stayed at The Crockett Hotel & what a pleasant surprise that was. Great location for everything we had to get done – cute, clean, affordable, great customer service & delicious breakfast (HA!). // Tippidy-Tip: If you plan on going, ask for a room with a window facing The Alamo.

 The-Crockett-Hotel-San-Antonio

The Riverwalk & The Alamo are probably the most known parts of San Antonio, or draw in the largest tourist crowds. {Besides Sea World & Six Flags – but captured killer whales + sky high roller coasters aren’t my ideal situation.}

I’m all about playing tourist.

The Alamo was part of the Texas Revolution, I can’t think of specific movies w/ The Alamo story line but I know they’re out there.  “Remember the Alamo!”

The Battle of the Alamo was the defeat a large Mexican Army had over a small group of Texan Soldiers. Bravely, the Texans managed to hold off the Mexican Army for nearly 13 days!? (I’m not a history buff so I know there’s a ton more to the story but I believe that’s the general idea for anyone scratching their heads) // v i a 

San-Antonio-Texas-the-alamo

The Alamo

We walked around outside the Alamo, as it was closed when we were in the area.  And I don’t go outside before 4:00pm, as it’s too hot. (hi)

The entire area near the Alamo is a nice walk.  The buildings are huge & older so there’s history you can easily see.

 San-Antonio-Texas(3)

We took a recommendation from a local friend of ours and went to The Pearl.  Very pretty, great recommendation.  We got there when the sun was setting & the river was gorgeous.  Lots of wedding & graduation pics happening, as they should be.

I noticed Hotel Emma is all the rage in San Antonio right now.   I’d be interested to stay there on our next trip down.  We didn’t have a chance to check out the inside of the hotel, but the outside was beautiful, similar to the surrounding areas.

San-Antonio-Texas(4)

Wafiq always says: “Now point @ the camera”…. ??

I also noticed, the entire area by the Pearl was extremely dog friendly.  Which, hi, yes please.

And after researching the restaurants nearby we landed on a Peruvian-Asian restaurant called Botika Pearl. New, fresh w/a light menu.  Big & open – totally our style.

Besides the unfortunately long, uncomfortable wait at the bar, the restaurant was excellent.  Our waitress was excited, knowledgeable & confident (which I notice can sometimes lack at new restaurants) and the food was gone. We ate it all. Several plates.  Fresh, light, unique and delicious.   Totally recommend.

Botika-San-Antonia-The-Pearl

Chifa Ceviche – Botika

The next day we walked around the Riverwalk, walkways lining the San Antonio River, in downtown San Antonio.  I made an effort to avoid restaurants.  In such touristy locations they tend to be overpriced & freezer style food – which I can’t stand <–  It’s hurts me to eat that shit.

So we stopped at In & Out Burger on the way home. LOL! My life.

 San-Antonio-Texas(5)

We also stopped at the San Marcos Outlets on the way home.

OMG OMG OMG if you ever question living in America – go to that outlet mall and all questions will be answered.  I can’t stay away, thanks God Wafiq doesn’t allow me to stay for too long.  Someone savvveeee meeeee!

 San-Antonio-Texas(2)

And that’s it for the quick couple days in San Antonio!

Even though it was short, it felt like a long & comfortable break.  A few days of a break from your regular routine are super underrated. No matter where you go – go!

San-Antonio-Texas(6)

And if you go to San Antonio let me know what you find! I can easily tell there’s a lot more to see & do.

I want to go back soon, anyone from San Antonio want to weigh in?!  I love when locals share their love for their city.

Talk to you laters, stay happy!

Xx

 

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The Barton Creek Greenbelt, Austin TX

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to thee: The Barton Creek Greenbelt.

The Barton Creek Greenbelt hidden water holes, Austin TX

The Barton Creek Greenbelt hidden water holes, Austin TX

I randomly fell across a “Greatest Hiking Trails in the U.S.” article and when clicking through noticed The Barton Creek Greenbelt made the list.

Whaaaaaaaaaat?! I’ve never hiked the trail before & I live on the damn thing.  Literally, you can get there from my front door.

Say no more – Wafiq, Bernice & I decided to get er done!

The greenbelt is an 8 mile trail right outside the city of Austin, TX.

It’s a wee bit hidden – not as obvious to find as you would imagine a hiking path that runs from the city would be.

 

The Barton Creek Greenbelt map

Downtown Austin is near Zilker Park

I think most people park at one of the many entrances & walk to the water to hang out for the day. Or hike a little bit.

We had a friend drop us off at the far end of the trail & we hiked back into the city (no option to back out).

From what I saw, people don’t tend to hike the entire 8 mile trail on a daily basis.

It was really hard.

Or I should say, more challenging than expected.

The trail breaks in quite a few places, you have to walk through water or find an alternate route. Mmmmm hmmmmm not as easy as  I was imagining. 

At one point Bernice swam for the first time in her life – straight down with the current.  Let’s just say I super hover-mom’d over her after that.

The Barton Creek Greenbelt hidden water holes, Austin TX

 The Barton Creek Greenbelt hidden water holes, Austin TX

THE WATER – Was crystal clear, cool, and beautiful.

The trail lines water most of the 8 miles.

I’m not normally a fan of bodies of water in Austin because they look dirty.  I was bred in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes –>  We pick clean ones to swim in.  We don’t go near the dirty looking bodies of water.

{Simply the nature of my childhood: a little spoiled in the lake department I realize.}

I’ll admit, the water in the greenbelt was incredibly clear & clean looking.  Also, a life saver.

Because it was HOT.  I want to say it felt something like 103 degrees outside? And besides getting very lost for the first quarter mile, the water managed to keep us cool & comfortable.

The challenge of the hike was entertaining.

We’re always looking for different ways to exercise & get out to try new things.  And it’s a total bonus when Bernice can come.

The Barton Creek Greenbelt, Austin TX

The Barton Creek Greenbelt hidden water holes, Austin TX

We aren’t big “hiker” people so this might be obvious to some – but proper water shoes is a must?!  (Never previously envisioned myself needing water shoes but here we are)

I wore these Sketchers, and you guys, like a miracle from heaven – they were perfect.

Against all my friend’s & family’s will, these shoes come in handy very often.  They’re perfect, they have my heart, and I’m obsessed. There, I said it.

I try to limit myself to wearing them to volleyball, outdoor activities, and now I can add – hiking trails w/water.

I’m nearly convinced I look cool.

(They’re like walking on freaking clouds! AND they slip on! AND I throw them in the washing machine. Poof. Easiest.)

However, after this hike I went straight to google the best hiking shoes for trails w/water.

Below this post are my findings.

I’m thinking water shoes are going to be a staple in my wardrobe? (Have I completely lost it?!)

You just never know when it’ll be time to go on an adventure! Right?!

 

The Barton Creek Greenbelt, Austin TX

If you visit Austin & it hasn’t been raining (which is most of the time), the trail will probably be dry.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go explore.  I’ve been to the greenbelt many times when it was dry & it’s still a good day hike: Cliff’s, rocks, peace, trees, water, shade, people.

And you can hike, mountain bike, rappel off cliffs, hang in a tree like a bat… whatever. You do you.

Overall, this was a totally fun adventure. And so close to home?!

That’s what floats my boat in life, little surprise adventures.

 The Barton Creek Greenbelt hidden water holes, Austin TX

The next day we binged watched Graceland on Netflix (so good!!).

You could say we were all a little sore.  Even Bernice wasn’t bothered to go outside to the bathroom the next day.

It always feels the best to have a fun, exhausting day like that…

So tired & content – dreaming of your accomplishment.  (Maybe that’s just me making an excuse to watch Netflix all day)

 

How’s your summer adventures going?! We’re almost into July, just getting started!

Talk soon!!

Xx

 

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Super Casual – Intro. To 6th Street, Austin TX

Austin’s 6th Street.

 6th Street, Austin Texas,

For people who haven’t heard of it, 6th Street refers to a few blocks in downtown Austin full of bars & entertainment that is closed off to cars on the weekends –> Party central for Austin, TX.

Some people are happy about it, some people are sad about it but this part of 6th Street is also known as “Dirty 6th”.

I think you’ll understand why when you visit.

But “Dirty 6th” should not necessarily scare you away, dirty refers more to –> wild, crazy, fun, fast, carefree, everyone & everything.

It can be wild & out of control, but sometimes a little out of control is a good thing.

6th Street, Austin Texas

I became verrrry familiar with 6th Street in college and have since done my best to avoid it – but! for the sake of going outside my day to day activities I wanted to give 6th Street a try once again, & take you with me.

When you’re in college –> 6th Street is where you run to every night to get as many free drinks as possible, see classmates like you’ve never seen them before, and stumble up to a pizza window at 3am slamming down as much food as humanly possible.

For people who are out of college, or in town visiting – 6th Street can be a different place.

6th Street Austin Texas

What to wear:

Wear whatever you want! You can truly get away with anything.

This particular time, I tried to land somewhere in the middle with a sequin crop top and long maxi skirt – but do you. 

If you ever wanted to experiment with a hoochie look, this is the place to live out your dreams.   Boobs, legs, heels – You won’t feel out of place & will probably get top notch service. Why not?!

If you want to wear jeans and a T-Shirt & walk around people watching, go for it!

If you want to wear your bikini and Star Wars cape, I say go ahead!

Do you.

Missbassmaster 6th street, austin texas

Where to eat:

I’ve never explored the restaurants on 6th street (besides the 2am pizza windows or sausage carts), because there’s a ton of other restaurants downtown that are a little easier to get to, and shall we say, a bit less chaotic than the ones lining 6th Street.

Iron Cactus is probably the tourist hot spot for 6th Street, but I can’t say it’s the best. I went there once a looong time ago and wasn’t overly impressed. According to reviews, doesn’t seem to be doing a lot better now.

We took a chance on Eureka and were pleasantly surprised, would definitely go back… Big windows, chill but excited, food was fresh –> Yum!

6th Street, Austin Texas

Steak Salad & Brussel Sprouts – Delish!

And for dessert, the now open 24/7, Voodoo Doughnuts is available for your consumption.

I’m your average basic when it comes to doughnuts: Plain, Glazed, Cake all the way… {YASSSSSSSSSSSS come to me!}

BUT if you have a creative mind as far as doughnuts are concerned,  Voodoo Doughnuts will keep up with you.

6th Street, Austin Texas, Voodoo Doughnuts

What to do:

Besides the endless bars, dancing, drinking & people watching – there are souvenir shops, live music venues, a movie theater, comedy shoes, & a piano bar – all right in the heart of 6th Street. Don’t be afraid.

We went to Alamo Drafthouse – The Ritz the other night to see PopStar.  {I don’t usually like comedies, but this one was funny.  The buffalo cauliflower & wine probably helped.}

Alamo Drafthouse is much different than other theaters, it offers food + drinks + comedy & affordable prices. (I love it sooooooo much!)

They’re having a Kanye West: Glow in the Dark Sing-A-Long showing all month…?! Yes please!

* On your regular movie night at The Ritz – get a little buzz and walk around 6th Street afterwards.  That’s what we did.

There’s also Esther’s Follies right on 6th Street.  I’ll admit, although this place seems to be a long time favorite of visitors and Austinites, I’ve only seen it from the backside.  The windows open up to 6th street for passerby’s (me) but the real show is inside.

I haven’t been. I’m not sure if I’m a total comedy-magic-skit show person, but it’s on my list of things to try.  AND if you visit Austin, probably worth checking out.

 

6th Street Austin Texas Alamo Drafthouse The Ritz

There it is!

Your baby, introduction to 6th Street – so much easier to write about it than visit. LOL!

{Lots of alcohol induced people + sober picture taking = embarrassed MissBassmaster.} 

Per usual, if you plan ahead you won’t be as overwhelmed when you get down there.  It gets pretty crazy and drunk in the evening time so having a plan will get you through smoothly & probably with a few good stories to tell.

6th Street, Austin Texas,

Where’s your party central?!  Worth visiting or not?!

I always wonder if locals take their visitors to the popular party streets… I debate 6th Street every time, but ultimately decide it’s a place visitors want to see.

Ok, off to make out with my doggie & sleep!

Byeeeeeee

Xx

 

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