Photowalk on the Riverwalk

As if the Blogalicious conference wasn’t awesome enough, we had a chance to get a photography lesson with our devices early Saturday morning. Our instructor and guide was professional photographer Candace Schaddelee of Rememory Photography based here in San Antonio, Texas. Visit her site to check out her amazing photography skills and if in the Alamo city and need a pro photographer, be sure to contact her at Candace@RememoryPhotography.com. Candace gave us tips on how to capture colors, scenery, and bring our images to life when posting them on our blogs. Below are a few shots I took with my Samsung Note 2 and my Samsung Tab. All pictures are unedited.

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Free Family Fun in San Antonio!

Get festive with your family at the Festival People de Espanol this Labor Day weekend by bringing them out to the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center. With all the activities and amazing performances planned for the fest, it’s sure to be a celebration. And the best part…it’s FREE.

Click on the links for the schedule of events!

Aug. 30-Saturday Schedule

Aug. 31-Sunday Schedule

A fan of Becky G & Zendaya? See them live Saturday evening at The Lila Cockrell Theatre. Visit Ticketmaster for ticket info.

I was very lucky to have attended the Festival People de Espanol press conference this afternoon and visit with the sponsors responsible for this really cool event they have brought to our city. So be sure to take the family out and see for yourselves! Hope to see you there!

Festival People de Espanol

 

 

Big Easy Cafe

I am a Cajun food addict and now my husband is too! We love all the spices, thick sauces, and of course the seafood. Nothing has beaten the Cajun cuisine I’ve eaten in New Orleans, but we found a spot here in San Antonio that has brought those flavors to us. It’s like a bit of good ol Louisiana right here in SA. Aside from the food being yummy, the staff is great as well. As soon as you step foot inside Big Easy Cafe everyone is friendly and ready to make you feel right at home. My husband and I each picked a different dish (pictured at the bottom.). We were so stuffed there was no way we had room for dessert. As we comfortably enjoyed our lunch, it almost felt like we were in New Orleans listening to some live Cajun music playing. We totally recommend Big Easy Café & will be back soon! To learn more about their catering services, live music events, and view their menus, please visit their website at: www.bigeasycafesa.com

Big Easy Cafe

4822 Walzem Road (Just behind IHOP) San Antonio, Texas 78218 210-653-5688

 

 

 

 

Little Breaks Make Big Changes

On the road, husband driving, so thought I’d blog a bit while it’s not my turn to pick which station we’re going to listen to on Pandora . Haha! Decided to take a spur of the moment road trip to visit my bestie in the Rio Grande Valley. With my step daughter back in Seattle, our nephew starting school, the accident my husband was in, and catching up with work stuff, it has been a bit difficult getting into our usual routine. Our couple of days off consisted of sleeping in, eating and drinking yumminess (which included George Clooney’s tequila-Casamigos), enjoying the coastal breeze, sand between our toes, swimming in the cool gulf waters, and of course hanging out with the bestie and her family.

In just these couple of days I’ve seen a difference in my husband. He’s calmer, more focused about goals, and looks happier. I think he really needed the break. Life gets crazy for everyone, there’s no stopping what is meant to come our way. But no matter what that is, always take time to collect yourself, enjoy and appreciate the little things and people in your life. Keep a positive attitude that there’s always a way to make things better and right, and all will fall into place when it’s meant to. The older I’m getting, the more my gratitude grows for things we cannot replace. If life is crazy… take a break… then tackle it with a stronger, clearer mind. Hope everyone’s week has started out good.

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South Padre Island

Step Daughter Goodies

When my step daughter was visiting this summer, we had something in common. We love the beauty world! What we sometimes fail to realize is the cartoon characters and things little girls watch on TV and pay attention to influence how they think a girl should look. My step daughter paid very close attention to me when I applied my makeup, polished my nails, and especially when I did my hair. Because she was so interested, I made sure to show her a few beauty tricks too. She even went back home with a new brush and mirror set, lip gloss, and lots of hair accessories. We had so much fun!
Thankfully, due to social media I’m able to keep in touch with many old high school friends. I’ve been admiring the pictures my friend has been posting of the headbands and other hair accessories she creates herself. I purchased a few with the characters my step daughter likes; she’s going to be so excited when she receives them.
Thought I’d share some pics with ya:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Selfie Syndrome

I’ll admit, I love selfies! I love taken them and seeing them on the newsfeed of my social media sites. You get to see your friends sporting a new hairstyle or wardrobe, new shade of lipstick, how proud they are of their families, accomplishments, the art of photography with a camera phone and apps…what’s not fun about that? But there are those that  take selfies into a whole other level…duck lips, showing cleavage and looking on the trashy side…I think there are selfie limits, especially if you have children on your friend’s lists. Found this article interesting…I am sure you know quite a few people that fit many of these descriptions. Enjoy the info, share, and don’t forget to take a Sunday Selfie!

 

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Texas Hill Country’s Hidden Lavender Treasure

texas lavender farmsWith the 2014 Lavender Festival coming up this weekend (June 13-15 2014, Fri. 12pm-6pm, Sat. 9am-6pm, Sun. 10am-4pm) thought I’d share the experience of our Hill Country road trip to Blanco, Texas where we attended the 8th Annual Blanco Lavender Festival. The town of Blanco (which means “white” in Spanish) was named for the limestone hills and banks along the river there. On our way up highway 281 we enjoyed the view of the hills, orchards, wineries, and even a few deer crossing the road. This was my first time visiting Blanco; usually I just pass right through. I was so amazed at how much beauty this little town has, from the Blanco River running through it to the small downtown strip of antique shops, local restaurants, and other small businesses. After having some yummy breakfast tacos at El Puerto Restaurant, it was time to make our way to the festival.

Blanco Lavender FestivalThe Festival

As always, the husband found a great parking spot on Main Street, our first stop (right across the street from where we parked & not on the festival grounds) was at the Blanco River Lavender Company booth, these lovely ladies were setting up and getting everything ready for the fest.  We then made our way to the information booth at the festival (where I couldn’t help but buy a Lavender Fest themed t-shirt, cap, & lunch bag), which was located on the grounds of the Old Blanco County Courthouse. There we were greeted by some of the sweet local women of Blanco. They were very helpful in giving us the best way to fit visiting the farms and the enjoying the fest all in one day.  As excited as we were to visit the farms, we were sadly informed that only 3 out of 8 lavender farms made it this year due to the drought last year.  Hearing news such as that made us really look forward to visiting the farms; we made it to 2 of them. As we walked towards the fest booths, it was kind of hard to choose where to start. Everything smelled so good and looked interesting to see. Lots of art, crafts, food vendors, music, local beer, Texas & Lavender specialty foods…you wouldn’t know where to begin either! But being the “spa junkie” that I am, the first thing that caught my eye was a booth filled with lavender products!

Lavender Margarita Mix MimosasAt Heron’s Nest Herb Farms’ booth, we met farmer, Mrs. Melanie Van Aken, not only did she have her products (lavender bath & body, pet care, & home care) for retail; she was also selling lavender cookies, brownies, and lavender tea.  The 2nd stop was Wimberley Lavender Farm’s booth, gorgeous cobalt blue bottles filled with lavender spa products & homemade soaps; I was like a kid in a candy store!  My poor husband probably thought he was going to be a guinea pig (as always!) for some kind of lavender spa creation I’d come up with. Other nearby fest goers were enjoying the Lavender Lemonade that was at the booth.   Still walking through the fest, we were approached to try this lavender bubbly adult beverage, though it may have been 11:00am, how could we say no to a glass of fizzy, sparkling purple stuff!   While sipping on our lavender mimosas (made with Miller Creek Lavender Margarita Mix) the Sanaloma Laser booth caught my husband’s eye.  I have to say we were both quite impressed with their work. The Georgetown, Texas Company creates all kinds of really cool 3D wooden models. They are great gifts for all ages; you must check out their online store, I know my husband is going to order a couple of things since they did make Military themed models.  Lavender Margarita Mix

Another booth my husband enjoyed was San Antonio’s very own Photo2wood. They use state of the art equipment to turn your photos into a wooden masterpiece. The festival was not only packed with vendors of all sorts, it also had many special guests speakers (including Jeannie Ralston, founder of Hill Country Lavender, the first lavender farm in Texas, and author of “The Unlikely Lavender Queen” ) educating on the history, uses, growing tips, and how to cook with lavender.

Learning about LavenderLush Lavender Learning

Being in the beauty & spa industry for 19 years, I have become a huge fan of lavender, I use it just about every day. Not only does its soothing aroma make my clients happy, it also has many benefits.  It’s used in many beauty products, so you can see why I am such a fan of this little purple bloom. Lavender has therapeutic and antiseptic qualities, it’s known as an effective remedy to combat restlessness, insomnia, cure headaches, ease anxiety, soothe stress, and promote relaxation. The lavender herb is also used for bug bites, burns, skin disorders, to relieve itching, rashes, and reduce swelling. Another lavender fact is that it is also an effective cleanser when added to bath water and for washing hair. It is claimed that lavender, due to its antibacterial and antifungal qualities, kills head lice and other scalp infections. Hence, lavender is seen to be effective in combating balding and promoting hair growth. Also, the lavender herb has been effectively used as an antiseptic for the treatment of acne. Another use for lavender is as a floor cleaner, and also for cleaning counter surfaces and bathrooms. Again, it works effectively due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties and it also gives out a pleasant fragrance to cleaned surfaces. Now you know why you see many cleaning products on the market that are lavender infused.

Texas Fields of Lavender Hill Country Lavender Farm

Native to the Mediterranean, (Latin root name: Lavandula. Lavare (to wash) Livendula (livid or bluish)) Lavender, is grown all over the world, lucky us, it’s right here in our beautiful Hill Country. The first farm we visited was Miller Creek Lavender.  The farm offers 3 acres of lavender, a variety garden with over 70 varieties, butterfly garden, blackberries, picnic tables/benches, granite sand trails, plenty of parking, and a gift shop filled with lavender food products, lavender bath and body products, books, pottery, t-shirts, ball caps, and much more. There was even lavender colored port o’potties with a hand washing station, which I thought was pretty cool. Owners Karen & Don Roets were very welcoming and had a spread of their lavender edible goodies. We tasted Lavender Strawberry Lemonade, Lavender Strawberry Jam (we liked this so much we took some home, Yummy!), Lavender Raspberry Chipotle Salsa, Lavender White Wine Jelly, & Lavender Jalapeño Mustard, each had their own unique flavors. Tasting all these Texas treats and enjoying the view of the lavender farm, made them even more enjoyable.  Remember that lavender bubbly we drank at the fest? We found the Lavender Margarita Mix it’s made with…yes, you know a bottle of the purple pleasure went home with us, let’s see how long it lasts! Ha-ha

Hill Country Lavender StoreThe next farm we visited was Texas’ 1st Commercial Lavender Farm. Another beautiful sight to see, this farm is next to an orchard, and has an amazing view of hills and live oaks. The farm has more than 2,500 lavender plants spread in neat rows across a 2 acre hilltop where visitors are invited to cut their own lavender throughout the season. Their farm store carries a complete line and over 70 of lavender products, including soaps, sachets, lotion, linen spray, eye pillows, bubble bath, lavender essential oil, & much more. I think I did the most damage at this store! Who’s ready for a Lavender Facial? My husband and I thought we’d see how well our “green-thumb” would do and bought our own lavender plant at this farm for our yard; they even give you growing easy to follow instructions when you purchase a plant. The girl who rung up our goodies said the lavender plant survives off neglect. I have never been the gardening type of girl, so there is a good chance of our lavender plant living forever. Ha-ha

The River Runs Through It Blanco River State Park

After our lavender adventure, the lavender kicked in and we were relaxed, we decided to have a picnic and enjoy the scenery of the Blanco River at Blanco State Park. The park is 104.6 acres located along the Blanco River in Blanco County. The land was deeded by private owners in 1933 before the park was opened in 1934. The park area was used as a campsite by early explorers and settlers. A spring in the park made the location ideal when the river was dry.  This park is very well kept and clean; we sat in a picnic area under shady oak and pecan trees watching geese, ducks, and saw a couple of turtles and perch. There’s nothing more relaxing than being by the water, even more so under the influence of lavender. Since our family loves the outdoors, we plan on returning to this park for some camping, hiking, fishing, and of course swimming. This is a perfect weekend spot for families; the park also rents canoes, tubes, and kayaks.

Hill Country Lavender ProductsTime to go Home

This was by far one of our best road trips. Texas has many small secret scenic places and Blanco is definitely one of them. Who needs France, when we have our own Lavender Farms here in the Hill Country? There is something for everyone in Blanco, fishing for the outdoorsman, antique shopping for you treasure hunters, hill country hiking for you thrill seekers, and lots of great picture spots for photographers. We enjoyed all it had to offer, the Lavender Festival was the bonus. Support your fellow Texans by trying some of the lavender goodies & checking out their products, we sure did. The information to all the vendors I mentioned is provided for you below. My husband and I looking forward to this year’s Lavender festival; hope to see some of you there. ❤

Blanco Lavender Festival 2014: June 13-15 2014, Fri. 12pm-6pm, Sat. 9am-6pm, Sun. 10am-4pm.

Randy Monterrosa April Mae Monterrosa

Blanco Chamber of Commerce

830-833-5105

312 Pecan Street

Blanco, Texas 78606

Puerto Restaurant

830-833-5813

115 Main Street

Blanco, Texas 78606

Blanco River Lavender Company

4136 Ranch Road 1623 Blanco, Texas 78606

830-833-4494

www.blancoriverlavenderco.com

Heron’s Nest Herb Farm

1673 River Bend Drive

Blanco, Texas 78606

830-833-2627

http://www.heronsnestherbfarm.com

Miller Creek Lavender

8453 Miller Creek Loop

Johnson City, Texas 78636

512.934.1616

droets@hotmail.com

http://www.millercreeklavender.com/

Wimberley Lavender Farm

11300 FM 2325 Wimberley, Texas 78676

830-833-1595

www.wimberleylavender.com

SanaLoma Laser, LLC

(512) 930-3882 5203 Taos Court Georgetown, Texas 78628-1745

info@SanaLomaLaser.com

http://www.sanalomalaser.com

Photo2wood

210.365.01117

info@photo2wood.com

photo2wood.com

Jeannie Ralston: The Unlikely Lavender Queen

http://www.jeannieralston.com/

Blanco State Park

P.O. Box 493

Blanco, TX 78606

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/blanco

Texas Lavender Farm Pink Tractor