Travel

Miles to Magnolia & A Stop at Lake Travis

FB_IMG_1502209372890 (1)We were looking for a weekend getaway. Anyone who knows me, knows I love the HGTV show Fixer Upper.  I was just itching to get to Waco, TX so I could visit the Magnolia Market at the Silos. Lucky for us, we live in Dallas so Waco is just a short drive.

The Magnolia Market is a cool little area with food trucks, a nice picnic area, a feed store, a bakery and of course a home goods store where you can purchase similar pieces featured on the show. It has a very welcoming small town vibe and I immediately felt at home when I was there.

When we arrived, we attempted to visit the “new” (at the time) bakery and get one of those famous cupcakes featured on the show. However, our short patience would not allow us to wait in that long line. The line was wrapped around the corner and down the block. I guess we picked a busy weekend.

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Since we didn’t get to go inside the bakery, we took a few photos outside and headed into the main market area. Being the penny pincher he is, my husband would not allow me to grab everything I saw off the shelves. Believe me, I really wanted to. I decided to be more frugal and purchased the most comfortable t-shirt I have ever had in my life. It’s a dark grey print screen tee with a the logo and a picture of the Silos on front. It’s so comfy. I should have purchased one in every color.

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After a peak in the market, we went outside to the picnic area. The smell of the kettle corn being cooked outside was so intoxicating. Unfortunately, when we ¬†finally decided to get some, they were shutting down and out of the one we wanted. They had so many different choices in food trucks. We weren’t really that hungry, so I just got an iced latte from Common Grounds and it was really good.

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After getting my caffeine pick me up, we went over to the cute little feed store they have on site. If you are a gardener and love plants, this is the place for you. They have a small garden outside and lots of useful items for your gardening needs. For the rest of the day we decided to chill out side and take a few pics.

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Since we were so close to Austin, we decided to go the extra mile and visit Lake Travis. It was the first time at Lake Travis for the both of us and it was so beautiful. Luckily, we were able to get an Airbnb at the Villas at Lake Travis, right on the lake. The villas are a little older. So if you are looking for something brand new and trendy this is not the place for you. But if you are looking a nice place to sleep and chill on the lake, this is it!

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do much of anything because it rained all weekend. To make the most of things and get out of the room, we decided to go to The Oasis on Lake Travis. It’s a cute little area with lots of novelty shops and an awesome Mexican restaurant. The food was amazing. It was a little chilly when we were there but we sat on the patio anyway. They had lots of lamp heaters around so we didn’t feel the chill at all. We also had a beautiful view of the lake.

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Overall, we had a pretty good weekend. We can’t wait to go back and actually get in the water. They also have a couple of vineyards close by that we want to check out as well. If you have been to Magnolia Market or Lake Travis, let me know where you stayed and some things we should do the next time we visit.

 

 

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Travel

Cruisin’

carnival

A while ago, my husband and I went on our second Carnival cruise. We set sail to three ports, Belize, Mahogany Bay (Honduras), and Cozumel. It was a great experience. Here’s a little recap!

Carnival is definitely a party boat. We haven’t sailed another cruise line yet, but from what we hear, Carnival is the one to choose if you want to have a good time. They have lots of activities, a casino, shows, and of course lots of food.

Just a tip, if you can splurge, get a balcony room. ¬†The cruise ship is close quarters. It’s really great to have a balcony that you can go out on and enjoy the sunsets and the sound of the ocean. We have been lucky enough to see some flying fish out there as well.

 

Our first stop was Belize. In Belize, we opted to do the Butts Up cave tubing and zip lining. It was the first time zip lining for both of us. It was such a freeing and fun experience. We were fortunate enough to zip line through the jungle across a beautiful river. The views were amazing. It is definitely something that I want to do again.

 

We were also able to do cave tubing with the same company. They take you on a tour through a cave on a freezing cold river. The water is really shallow. The guides were actually able to pull us along the river outside of tubes. It was really nice and definitely something you should do if you go to Belize. Another great thing about this company is that they provide you lunch. We had authentic Belize tamales and they were delicious. I would definitely recommend booking an excursion with Butts Up Cave Tubing if you go on a cruise to Belize.

Our next stop was in Roatan, Honduras aka Mahogany Bay. We didn’t really have anything planned ahead of time for Honduras, so we decided to do one of the more affordable excursions through Carnival. We opted to do the flying chair and snorkeling. When we got there we found out that this excursion was not led by anyone. You basically just use the chair lift to get back and forth to the beach and you can grab equipment to snorkel at your leisure. Since we had hours to spare, we decided to take a tour of the island first.

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They have lots of cab and tour services when you get to the port. I can’t remember the name of the service we used but it was pretty good, mostly because of the driver. He took us to most of the tourist markets and areas on the island. Our favorite place we went was the West End. They have lots of restaurants and shops in the area and the beach was beautiful. It looked like something out of a movie. We definitely plan to go back.

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West End

Old faithful Cozumel was our last stop. Whenever we go to Cozumel we always go to Mr. Sanchos. It is a beach club resort where you can pay around $50 for all you can eat and drink. It is definitely worth the fifty bucks. In addition to the beach, they also have two pools on the property as well as a variety of other activities you can do. They have everything from massages, to spa treatments, water sports, and horse back riding. If you are looking to relax , eat, drink, and enjoy the beach, Mr. Sanchos is the way to go in Cozumel.

 

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For the sea days we were able to participate in a lot of the activities on the boat. I recommend attending the art auctions for free champagne and raffle prizes.  The comedy shows are great as well.  I also utilized the hot tub a lot on sea days. The pools were crowded most days.

What made this cruise so special was our cruise director Rev. Dr. E! He was so much fun. He even has his own good morning song. It’s really funny and catchy and I found myself singing it for days even when I was off the ship. If you go on a cruise, I hope you are lucky enough to get him as a cruise director. He made this cruise an awesome experience.

 

We are definitely looking forward to our next cruise. It has really helped us decide where we would like to go for resort vacations. It gives you a good preview of ¬†places where you would like to spend a little more time. If you have any questions or comments about cruisin’, please share below! If you are looking to book your first cruise try Carnival.¬†https://www.carnival.com/

 

 

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Travel

I know what it means to miss New Orleans…

fb_img_1476214079124.jpgNew Orleans is one of my favorite cities to visit in the United States. I’ve been a few times and each time I go, I can’t wait to get¬†back. This city is filled with so much culture, food, music, and good times. If you’re looking for a party, no matter what time of year, New Orleans is the place.

There are so many fun places to go, so many great places to see, and so many interesting people to meet. This is a combination of my past experiences in New Orleans and just a few places that I feel are a must, when you go visit.

The first place you should definitely go see is the St. Louis Cathedral. Now this is an active church, I believe they even still hold mass there. It’s a really beautiful place when you go inside. Filled with beautiful paintings, murals, and stained glass. It’s also one of the most well-known places in NOLA, so it’s a great place for a photo op.

fb_img_1476214070389.jpgRight in front¬†of the St. Louis Cathedral is Jackson Square named for Andrew Jackson. That’s another thing I love about New Orleans. It is filled with so much great history and historical places. So if you’re a history buff, NOLA has plenty of interesting history for you to learn. Take one of the walking tours to learn more.

The next place I feel you should absolutely check out is Mardi Gras World. Here you will learn all of the fun facts about the infamous Mardi Gras celebration. You also get a chance to see the intricate floats they’ve¬†used in the actual parades. My favorite part is the slice of King Cake they give you during the tour.

There is no way you can go to New Orleans without going to Bourbon Street. Bourbon is where the party is. I’ve heard that it’s mostly for tourist. Either way, you should check it out.¬†There are tons of bars and clubs lining the street, take your pick. Catch a couple of beads from people on the balconies above. Don’t forget to grab¬†a Hand Grenade from Tropical Isle, but pace yourself because these suckers will sneak up on you.¬†fb_img_1476214064186.jpg

I’ve heard that Frenchmen Street is less “touristy,” if that’s a word. This is where the locals hang out. Frenchmen is filled with cool Jazz bars and restaurants. They even have a little market tucked away where you can buy anything from candles to wooden bow ties. If you’re looking for some good Jazz, go to Frenchmen Street. Last time we visited, we were lucky to see trumpeter Kermit Ruffins play at the Blue Nile. Needless to say it was a good time. If you don’t know who he is, definitely look him up an try to catch one of his shows in New Orleans.

20150320_184407You have to go to the historic Cafe Du Monde. There are no words to describe how delicious their¬†beignets and cafe¬†au lait are. We have to go at least once a day while we’re there. ¬†You have to! It’s required.

Lastly, if you’re anywhere in¬†Louisiana, go check out the plantation tours. These are really eyeopening and must see¬†tours. No matter what your ethnic background I encourage everyone to go. We got to visit the Whitney Plantation and it was definitely a great experience. For us, it was emotional and afterwards we were filled with gratitude that we¬†got a chance to view history up close and personal.¬†Below are just a few pics.

So overall NOLA is a great city. It¬†just feels like home to me. You definitely need to go if you have never been.¬†Go¬†#followyourNOLA and check out this website for more ideas on places to see while you’re there.¬†http://www.neworleansonline.com/

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Travel

Home of the King!

Recently my husband and I went to Memphis for¬†a family reunion. ¬†It’s a pretty soulful town.¬† It’s a great place to go hear live music, eat good food and meet some interesting people. We started at the legendary Beale St. It was really fun! ¬†Kind of reminds me¬†of Bourbon Street in New Orleans or¬†Sixth Street in Austin, if you have been to either of those places.

Beale St. 2Beale St. has lots of bars and great places to eat. They have everything from famous Memphis BBQ, Cajun, burgers, pizza and much more. I only wish we could have hung out there longer. I don’t feel like we got the full experience of Beale St.¬† We will definitely be going back.

People who know me know that I am an Elvis Presley fan. Every year during the time for his birthday or the memorial of his passing, I obsess over all things Elvis.¬† I watch his movies and TV specials all day.¬† I listen to the Elvis Sirius XM station constantly.¬† It gets pretty intense. So I could not go to Memphis without visiting the Home of the King…Graceland! Going to Graceland definitely rekindled my Elvis obsession. I was literally like a kid in a candy store. I really enjoyed myself!

wpid-20150802_171709.jpgThe only complaint I have about Graceland is that it wasn’t bigger.¬† It was also in a weird part of town.¬† I’m sure when Elvis lived there it was a totally different neighborhood, but things have changed.¬†I can’t complain though because I got to walk in the footsteps of Elvis Presley. When you pull into the parking lot and approach the pathway that leads to your tour, there is a great photo opp near the sign that says Graceland “The Home of Elvis Presley.”

You check in at the central hub of Graceland, where the ticket booth and gift shops are (don’t know what it’s called) :/ You buy your tickets if you don’t already have them and you load a bus. What’s really cool and unique about this tour is that everyone gets an iPad and headphones. You get to see a lot of cool multimedia stuff and hear the voice of John Stamos! (Uncle Jesse!)

20150802_152136You¬†load the bus and you ride over to the actual Graceland Mansion. The property is really beautiful and has been very well maintained of course. As soon as you enter the Mansion you hear John Stamos’ voice telling you all about the front living room and all of the great things that happened there and a little info about the artifacts in the room like photos and¬†furniture¬†that were special to Elvis. As you move from room to room you can use the iPad to learn more!wpid-20150802_142231.jpg

All of the areas in the house were my favorite but the most memorable for me were the trophy room (which use to be the racquetball room) the office and¬†of course the meditation garden where Elvis is buried. It’s such a beautiful serene place.

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Depending on what package you get you also get to see other exhibits like the archive room with tons of Elvis memorabilia and artifacts, his planes and cars, and a dedication to his birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi. You can see more pictures from our trip on my Facebook page. Until next time, Thank you, Thank you very much!

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