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

Spring Time Beauty Tips

While the cooler temperatures were here we used heavier moisturizers, hydrating masks, and less sunscreen. When the temperatures change we often change our hair color and wardrobe to fit the season. Now that spring is on its way, there are things you need to change about your skin care regimen. It’s time to shed all that dead dry winter skin and look nice and polished for spring. Now that the days are going to be longer, the sun is going to get stronger also, so we need to be prepared.

Start off by shedding all of those layers of winter dead skin build up with exfoliation. Not only will your skin feel smooth, but it also stimulates your circulation, this is a great way to give your new skin cell production a boost. There are different varieties of exfoliation, so what ever you are comfortable with is up to you. Personally, I prefer using a dry body brush prior to my bath; ill scrub myself vigorously,  focusing on knees and elbows. After my shower, ill put on body lotion while I am still a bit dewy so my skin will drink up the moisturizer nicely. If your skin is sensitive, its best to use gentle strokes when using a body brush or a hydrating body scrub works well too. Same for your facial skin, try exfoliating from 2-3 times a week. I would not recommend exfoliating on days that you will be out in the sun for long periods of time. spring

Time to book that manicure and pedicure or do it yourself, what ever is easiest for you! If your body and face are feeling dry, I am sure that your hands and feet are too. Get those cuticles trimmed, heels buffed, and those toes nicely polished for those open toed shoes you will be wearing. Keep cuticle oil near you as much as possible to prevent those cuticles from looking chalky or splitting, hangnails may be very small, but are very uncomfortable and can even hurt.

 

Since you will be hanging up the jacket, putting away all long sleeved clothing, wearing shorts and short sleeved tops you will have more skin exposed. If you are prone to body acne, with warmer temperatures and sweat, your pores have a bigger chance of getting clogged which can cause breakouts. Try a medicated body cleanser with benzoyl peroxide to clean out those pores or find an esthetician that performs back facials to really clean and extract impurities from your pores. If you have extreme back or body acne I suggest you see a dermatologist.

Don’t leave home without it…I’m not talking about your American express card either. I’m talking about SUNSCREEN! Make sure you apply to all areas of the body that are exposed to the sun. Apply 20 to 30 minutes before going outside; this will give the sunscreen time to penetrate into your skin. Your face is the most important thing you should protect from the sun. Use a SPF of at least 20 for you face. Don’t forget about your ears and your lips, they need protection as much as anything else.

Your scalp can also get sunburned from being out in the sun for long periods of time, for protection try wearing hats or caps. Keeping your head covered will also prevent you from overheating. The sun can also make your hair brittle and dry, which can cause hair breakage. If you plan on taking a drive in your convertible, there’s nothing sexier that your hair flowing in the wind, but that warm breeze also dries out your hair too. Try keeping your hair pulled back in a cute ponytail to avoid it getting so dry. Use more detanglers or hydrating masks for your hair weekly to keep that nice sheen and your ends moisturized.

These are just a few tips to get you ready for spring break. There are many more I plan on sharing so stay tuned.

To All The Single Ladies

Lately I’ve seen a lot of social media posts from my single friends that are strong women with so much to offer wonder why women that don’t aren’t single and they are…

To my single ladies and single moms that are having a hard time because they cannot find true love. The women that are trying to better themselves in life, with their families and their careers, and most of all for themselves. First of all true love finds you when you least expect it, trust me…it happened to me. Secondly, I know we all have those friends that are out partying like rockstars still even in their 30’s without a care in the world, living with friends and family, in a dead end job they hate, because they have no ambition to do better for themselves, because they’ve chosen the easy route, and their main priority is to hunt down a man to not be alone. These women meet douche bags, and will be the same in their forties and fifties, because they will settle for any man that comes their way just so they won’t be alone. So as much as you think they have it easier than you having a grand ol time as you work your ass off, they don’t and they are only fooling themselves. I know there are days that you’re stressed out, you feel alone, lonely, and unloved. But you’re not; because as you’re in school, as you’re working hard, as you’re being the best mother, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, and most of all WOMAN you can be…these “girls” without goals become their worst and have nothing to show for themselves but a bunch of broken relationships. Keep moving forward, keep being strong, keep achieving those goals, keep being you, and don’t forget to appreciate all those that are with you along the way. Your time for true love will come one day. Until then, don’t forget the love you carry inside of you for yourself. It is because of the love you have for yourself, the self respect, the ambition, and the drive that you have to keep on a chasing your dreams that makes you special and most of all courageous. Plus, it’s sure nice to drive you’re own car, have you’re own place to live, and live by YOUR rules, right? ALWAYS be proud of who you are. The more you’re not worried about finding true love, the faster it’ll find you…and it will be amazing.

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