The Banisters at Lucky Lounge

It has been a long time since I’ve used my DSLR and even LONGER since I’ve photographed a band. However, when a few of my coworkers said their band had a show, I wanted to check them out! I decided to dust off my camera and travel downtown to watch The Banisters at The Lucky Lounge.

You can find The Banisters on Facebook and Instagram (@thebanistersatx)


Natural Bridge Caverns

Over the Easter weekend (I know… this post is LONG overdue…), Brian and I went to San Antonio to visit his family. Together, we took a day trip out to Natural Bridge Caverns. The area gets its name from the bridge that exits in nature.

I’ve never been to any sort of cavern before, so I was very impressed. The cave trail is .75 miles of underground beauty. Being the weekend, it was very crowded. We were basically shoulder to shoulder with people walking through the tunnels (which made me stopping to take photos every 2 feet very awkward…). I’m definitely looking forward to going back on a weekday when we can really take out time meandering along.

My favorite room in the cave was the Emerald Lake. The water was so clear and the reflections were simply beautiful.

Because this was our first time, we opted for the basic Discovery Tour. Natural Bridge Caverns also offers a Hidden Passages Tour, and Adventure Tour, and an early morning/night time Lantern Tour, where you explore the dark caves by lantern light only. If underground isn’t your thing, there’s a large ropes course outside ending with a zip line.

Brian bought some souvenirs, along with a beautiful necklace for me!

Texas Antiques Week

Want to do something completely overwhelming? Visit Texas Antiques Week. Twice a year, a collection of cities near Round Top, Texas, put on the largest antiques fair you’ve ever seen. The next one runs from September 18th- October 4th.

I was a little confused about how it all worked, but now I hope you can benefit from my first-hand experience. Basically, there are 50+ antique fairs happening simultaneously (some only operate on certain days, but luckily there’s a handy schedule for that!) throughout the cities of Round Top and Warrenton. There is no one place it’s happening – it’s happening everywhere. Look at one show for a bit, then drive down the road to the next show that looks interesting. So to start, just set your GPS for either Round Top or Warrenton and as you get closer, you’ll start to see the antique shops lining the streets. This was a little difficult for our family, because we like to know exactly where we are going, but we made it just fine. Here is a little map that might help you, from the Texas Antiques Week website. We stumbled upon the Blue Hills at Round Top show and spent the majority of our time there, eventually heading over to the County Line shows. Most of the shows are free, with free parking, but a few are paid. See my comments below, but I’d suggest sticking to the free shows. There is PLENTY to look at. As you can see, I was so overwhelmed, I only took a few photos.

Based on my experience, I have a few tips I’d like to share. Please remember, these are my tips – it’s what I’d say to a friend. I’m sure everyone has a different way of doing Texas Antiques Week, but these are my suggestions:

1. Unless you have some pressing reason to, avoid the paid fairs. After talking to a few people who run the smaller* antique booths, I learned a lot of the people come and buy from the free places, then take the items (marked up, of course) and resell them at the larger paid fairs. Based on the chatter I heard, the paid fairs just aren’t worth it. *This is the TEXAS Antiques Fair, even the ‘small’ booths are overwhelmingly huge)

2. Have a list of things you’d like to purchase in hand. Otherwise, you’ll be like me – wandering wide-eyed at all the items for sale – and you won’t buy anything. If you say, “I need a unique coffee table for my living room,” you’ll have a much more successful day.

3. Similar to #2, set a budget. If I’d said, “I’ll spend $50,” I could have found something I liked and purchased it. Basically, you need a game plan. Whether you become a deer in the headlights when faced with the sheer amount of antiques, or you become a shopaholic, a game plan will make for a smoother, more enjoyable day.

4. Don’t worry about parking, you’ll find some. Most of it is just in dirt lots, but its there. Everyone has a car (or trailer), so there are places to park at each show.

5. Be ready for a long day. If you’re doing it right, you’ll be there all from sun up to sun down (maybe even several days). Plan accordingly. Bring lots of water, comfortable clothes and shoes, and food/snacks. The larger shows sell food (Blue Hills did), but the problem is that EVERYONE wants to eat there. We had to wait in line for about 45 minutes to get our food. Round Top and Warrenton are little towns, so you’re not going to stop at the local Denny’s or anything like that. I would suggest bringing a picnic style lunch to eat at your car. OR just keep an eye on the food lines. Eating lunch at 12:30pm probably wasn’t the smartest idea on our part.

6. Leave the pets at home. There are so many people and the shows are packed with antiques. It’d be pretty difficult to walk a dog through the narrow aisles.

7. Serious about antiques? Bring a trailer or U-Haul. Pretty much everyone had a large car or truck at the very least. People don’t mess around at Texas Antiques Week. If you plan on doing some serious shopping, bring the U-Haul. Don’t be embarrassed – plenty of people do it!

All that being said, I’m really looking forward to this fall’s show. Now that we know what to expect, I know my family and I will have a much less stressful, more enjoyable day. If this will be your first visit to Texas Antiques Week, I hope this little guide helps you! Just take slow, deep breaths, drink your water, eat your snacks, and admire all the beautiful things you can buy. Let me know how it goes!

East Austin Succulents

On a recent trip to At Home (a glorious home goods place, if you’ve never been), Brian and I found an owl planter that was on sale for $4. Brian isn’t too fond of my owl obsession, but I won him over with this one. We decided to plant a succulent or two in. I’d heard of East Austin Succulents and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to check it out. Upon arrival, we quickly picked up 4-5 plants and realized we’d made a mistake in visiting – we were about to spend out life savings on succulents! There were so many cool, unique plants. We loved it. The majority of the plants ranged from $2.50-$7.50, great quality and absolutely affordable.

In the end, we selected 6 plants and went back to At Home for another planter. What do you think?

Update: On another trip to At Home, I found 2 more discounted owl planters. When they’re $5, how can you say no?! So now I need to go BACK to East Austin Succulents for 4 more plants. How terrible.


Last weekend, my mom and I went to Georgetown, TX. Our main plan was to see the Women Painting Women exhibit at the Georgetown Art Center. It’s free and the show is made up of all local Texas painters. The volunteer working was very nice and knowledgeable. It’s a wonderful show – worth a look if you’re in the area.

After the WPW, we walked around Georgetown’s town square, “The most beautiful town square in Texas!” I’ll admit, it’s a pretty cute town square. Their courthouse sits in the middle. Surrounding it are rows of cute little craft shops, thrift stores, and antique shops. Some of the buildings are shockingly old. It makes me so happy to see them being preserved and utilized. Georgetown definitely has an, “Aw, isn’t this adorable” kind of vibe. My mom and I loved it.

One of the shops, Handcrafts Unlimited, had lots of crafts made by local seniors. It was pretty neat to see a shop just for them. The most impressive thing in the shop was a quilt that was under construction. Every Thursday, women (and men?) volunteer time to work on the quilt. When it’s finished, the quilt is raffled off to help fund the nonprofit craft shop. I definitely want to revisit the shop on a Thursday so I can watch them work.

We also stopped in at Galaxy Bakery. It’s a family run bakery just off the main town square drag. We went in looking for some Father’s Day treats – boy, did we find some! We decided on a small cupcake sampler set and a SUPER BROWNIE. If you visit Galaxy Bakery, you have to get a Super Brownie. It will be best $6 you’ve spent in a long time. My dad said it was was the best brownie he’d ever eaten. Basically, it’s two brownies glued together with frosting to create this mega brownie cube. Incredible. I don’t have any photos if it, unfortunately. I was too excited about it when we unpackaged it at home that we ate into it before I could get my camera out.

Other places of note…
If you’re craving breakfast, visit Monument Cafe. I wrote about my fantastic experience there on my Austin blog. There is also a candy shop in the main town square of shops called Sweet Serendipity Inc. I bought some truffles and other candies from there and OH MY GOSH they were delicious. Again, no photos because I did not have the patience! They also have ice cream and various home decorations. After eating everything in sight, hit the San Gabriel River Park trails. It’s very park-y, so bring the kids and the strollers. The trail goes along the river, eventually ending at Georgetown Lake (if you can make it that far!) Again, I blogged about those trails on my Austin blog.

What are your favorite places to visit in Georgetown? Let me know!

Zoo Animals

This Thursday, I wanted to feature some older photos of animals. I took these photos at the LA Zoo and the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park several years ago. Looking at photos like these remind me how important it is to carry my DSLR… You just can’t get photos like this with an iPhone!

10K Runner

I ran my first 10K back in April – the Capitol 10K. It was pretty overwhelming. There were close to 20,000 runners. 20,000 RUNNERS. It was a thrilling race and I cannot wait to run it again in 2016. There are a few hills, but after running in Lakeway, the hills were nothing.

A few tips:
1. Make sure you have someone to drop you off near the start. I can’t even imagine trying to park. My parents dropped me off and then parked at the Long Center. It took them about an hour to make it a few tenths of a mile. If I were a racer sitting in that traffic, I’d be freaking out.
2. There are a lot of port-a-potties around. The lines are INSANE, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. I’m not sure if bathrooms will always be located in the same area, but there were a collection of them near the Embassy Suites. I liked this group because it was right next to my corral and the rest of the runners on S. Congress. It only took about 20 minutes to get through the long line.
3. You don’t have to show up SO early. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the start and use the restroom, but you don’t have to be in your corral 2 hours before start time.

Last weekend, I ran the “Race to Build” 10K, a benefit for Habitat for Humanity organized by the Georgetown Running Club. It was a trail run through Williamson County Park in Leander. I’d never really run on trails before, so this was new to me. There were rocks and tree branches – it was like an obstacle course. To add to the difficulty of the trail, it was POURING rain. Complete downpour. Before the race started, I was soaked to the bone. Once the race started, my shoes were caked with mud and I had to carry the extra weight through the whole thing. I did slip in the mud once, but it was all good 🙂

I have really grown to like the 10K. It’s the perfect race for me!