18 April 2015

10 things I love about Texas

If I didn't call Florida home and I didn't live in Georgia, I would build a house in Texas. My day job takes me to Texas 5, 6, sometimes 7 times a year. With an honorary Texan pin I am proud to say I have visited every nook, cranny and corner of the 2nd largest state in the United States. Who knew, Alaska was number 1. I would bet most don't. After putting in some serious mileage in the lone star state I've compiled in no particular order some of my favorite things, places and people...

10. Bird Bakery in San Antonio, Texas
After you check out the basement of the Alamo be sure to head over to Broadway for bird food or a sweet treat. The cafe and bakery charm will win you and your stomach over. The owner, Elizabeth Chambers and her husband opened the bakery in the fall of 2011. You may recognize her actor husband, Armie Hammer from J. Edgar and The Social Network. Enjoy a sandwich as a protein plate or have as many gluten free cupcakes as you can because they are healthy, right?

9. Deep Eddy Vodka
No matter what time of year it is I would pick grapefruit flavor anything. I about lost it when Alison and I went to grab drinks on a Friday night at The Dogwood in Houston and I found Deep Eddy Ruby Red on tap...say what? Before they started distributing to Atlanta I asked Alison to drive me to Spec's where I bought every mini bottle of Ruby Red they had. The distillery is located just north of Austin and the brand's first product was Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka. Named after the oldest spring fed swimming pool in Austin, the brand also offers Deep Eddy Vodka, my beloved Ruby Red and Deep Eddy Cranberry. Cheers!

8. Central Market H-E-B
I only cheat on Publix when I am at Whole Foods and I only cheat on Whole Foods when I am in Texas. I hate to be a grocery snob but Central Market has really ruined my expectations for produce and pre-made meals. Home to my favorite kale salad, sushi samples and the best dip bar I've ever seen! It's where foodies celebrate everyday.

7. The Capital | Austin, Texas
Just go. Tour the capital, run with the bats around Lady Bird Lake, eat some lots of tacos, see lots of local art and just get weird.

6. Kolaches
West, Texas or the Kolache capital of the state of Texas is located outside Dallas-Fort Worth. In the late 1800's Czech immigrants began purchasing farm land and flourishing their culture in the area that is now West. Texas Kolaches were popping out of bakeries and today Kolaches are the most tested pastry in all of Texas.

5. Marfa
I've shared my Marfa story before but it really is a must see if you are ever in southwest Texas. Go for the art, the pizza, the Prada store that is never open and find yourself a hipster cowboy.

4.The Gypsy Wagon
At first this boho oasis caught my eye on social media. So the next time I was in Dallas I popped in and fell head over boots for Carley Seale and her gypsies in Texas. I bought my first Cleobella wallet, soaked in some inspiration and promised to visit again. And I did, in Austin, Texas when Carley and her team opened up their store on South Congress. I had the awesome opportunity to meet Carley in person and gush over how much I love her gypsy empire.

3. The Valley
I am always intrigued when I am on the border of anything. No different while I was in the valley of Texas. The Rio Grande Valley area encompasses a few cities, Brownsville, Harlogen, Edinburgh, McAllen and I got to see all of them. A lot of farm, a lot of oil. The Valley is also home to La Plaza Mall, one of the highest-grossing malls operated by Simon. La Plaza Mall is located in the heart of McAllen and is home to a growing marketing with mimmions of Mexican nationals just minutes away.

2. @JenLovesCove
I am sure you've heard of #targetdoesitagain, it's one of those ideas I wished I would've thought of. I am in Target every other day, why not take pictures of what you like and share with followers on social media. Jen Coleman, also known as one of the coolest moms on Instagram, has built a stylish brand online with her friend Laura Wiertzema. Check out the duo's blog and online store, Ascot + Hart. Deep in the Hart and Ascot Friday were their individual blogs and combined it becomes a raw blend of their style, in the closet and at home. Jen inspires me daily to be cooler, to live in a stylish space that gives me peace, to surround myself with things I love. Jen, her hunky husband and cool kid Cove call Dallas, Texas home.

1. Josh Abbot Band
When in Texas. . . make sure you are jabbing out to some Josh Abbot Band. As a grad student at Texas Tech and a member of Phi Delta Theta, Josh Abbot started forming the band in Lubbock, Texas. Find them on tour, download some jams and support local lyrics.
photo: Rolling Stone

I really do like it here, 

28 April 2014

across the pond

At the beginning of the year I started sharing my space on the web with Sports Direct. So when the chance to collaborate with their sister company, Mr. Luggage came up I was very excited. A few weeks ago my first piece of luggage arrived. 

Kangol is a clothing brand founded in the 1920's by Word War I veteran Jacques Spreiregan. Kangol made it's start with hats for workers and soldiers, later expanding with a brand for golfing. They were the major beret suplliers to the armed forces during World War II and today for Samuel L Jackson. 

K from knitting. ANG from angora. OL from wool.
Kangol berets grew to new heights, gracing the rich and royal including, The Beatles and Princess Diana. The Kangol brand continues to make fine hats but also clothing, accessories and luggage.  

 The luggage arrived just in time as I had a round of trips to use it for...

The hard luggage is light weight and durable. The Kangol suitcase is available in a range of sizes, so you can find one for any length trip. It has a large main compartment with a zipped pocket, this makes nice for organizing and separating loose items. The four wheel base makes it easy to navigate through busy airports and it has two carry handles and a retractable pull handle at the top. 

I chose the 30" piece of Kangol luggage as I usually pack for 4-6 days at a time. In addition to clothing and essentials, I usually tend to travel with materials for work and the hardcase luagge took it all and more. The luggage never weighed more than 45 lbs. Here is a peak inside...

With a few loose items on the left I zipped these items in the inner pocket. And like any dry cleaner's daughter, I travel with a steamer. 

If you travel more than a few times a year, or suffer from any level of OCD, I want to take this time to tell you about the packing cube (pictured below on the left). For every trip, even a weekender, I use these gems to organize clothing. I usually pack two cubes, one for work and one for causual/working out. It takes some getting used to, in the beginning I was not a cube packer.

Some other travel essentials: 
vinyasa scarf/blanket/vest/sleeping bag

The bronze beauty has already checked in at 6 different airports, that is 12 baggage carasousels. The hardcase barely has a scratch, all 4 wheels are still rollin' and fingers crossed it has yet to be lost. 

If you've been toying the idea of hardcase luggage this is the one to start with. If you are an experienced  traveler with a closet full of 3-wheeled luggage then this is the one to test your limits with. 

Be sure to visit www.mrluggage.com to see what other brands and luggage they offer. A great customer service experience is waiting for you. 

travel light, live light. spread the light, be the light.
Xo - S

15 April 2014

dune bug

"keep your face always toward the sunshine and the shadow will fall behind you."

I've always said if heaven is a place on earth, it would be The Gulf of Mexico. It's my favorite place in the world. But the White Sands National Monument is nothing like I've seen before. I will let the picture do the typing...

In southern New Mexico is the White Sand National Monument, the largest gypsum dune field in the world. It was created by President Herbert Hoover, under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906. 
If visiting, be sure to check the park website as it can often be closed for missle testing. Just be sure to visit. Watch the sunset, the moon rise, go in January, go in May. I promise it is worth the drive, good company and road snacks are always a great idea too. 

Thank you to my amazing photographers and friends, Jlyons and Mel Del. Happy I got to check this off my list with you. 

xo - S

catch her if you can

Still catching up on where I went in 2013...a new week was a different experience, meeting new people and connecting me with familiar faces. 

My home away from home is the great state of Texas. One of my pledge class sisters from my sorority moved to Fort Worth after graduation, on one of my days off she joined me in exploring the big "D"...Dallas. 

Next to my hotel was the Fort Worth Water Gardens. Built in 1974 next to the Convention Center, the idea of the cascading steps flowing with water was to be a cooling oasis in the heat of a Texas summer. 

The George W. Bush Presidential Center is the new entrance to the stunning SMU campus. The library and museum officially opened on April 25, 2013 and is home to all things Dubya. This was not my first time holding 43's hand and hopefully not my last.  

The Reunion Tower was not opened but this view was not too shabby. The 15th tallest building in Dallas is home to an observation deck and Wolfgang Puck restaurant, Five Sixty.

Dallas does not look that bad at sunset either. 

Stay lovely Texas. 

Next trip flew me to New Mexico. 
My second time to the Land of Enchantment, it tends to get more beautiful every time I go. 

I visited a new city while there, Socorro in the Rio Grande Valley. I never know what I will find but I am always pleasently surprised when I see something like this...a fencil. The pencil fence which posted a different mathematical number on each pencil reminds me that the world is full of good (and fun) people. If only this earth had more fencils. 

I hate driving and will admit to not being very good at it. But, my travels call for the occasional trek. New Mexico is always the exception to the rule. And at times, when I am the only driver on the road I will take pictures. Mama, if you are reading, I promise I don't do this all the time. 

 Three weeks of trips back to back, my legs were missing my beloved Fly Wheel studio in Atlanta. I was browsing the world wide web and found RydeShack. They use Real Ryder bikes which is like a stationary bike but it makes turns and allows for more movement. Which translates to using your core more and extra soreness. If you are ever in Albuquerque, NM, be sure to give them a visit, your first class is free too. 

ABQ > VPS to celebrate #jozeygetshitched 

Life would be ridiculously boring without these girls. I am very lucky to have a group of high school friends that still make time to see each other, no matter what. Congratulations Jozey and Sean! 

After hugging my family and playing in the ocean I was back on the road to Oklahoma. 
A little more driving on this trip, I started in Tulsa and then ended my trip in Oklahoma City. 
En route, I stopped in Moore, Oklahoma. A city that lost so very much during a tornado in 2013. The tornado was on the ground for 39 minutes, killing 24 people and an estimated $2 billion in damages. 

Before leaving OKC, I stopped by The Oklahoma City National Memorial. The site honors the victims, survivors and rescuers from the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. 

The Memorial Fence was full of tokens and love from all of the world. I even found a piece of Atlanta...

 With a full heart, 

13 April 2014


David Crockett once said, "you may all go to hell and I will go to Texas", so that is what I did, many times. 
I stumbled across these pictures from a trip I took to Austin in the Spring of 2013. How was this a year ago...as I plan my trip to Austin in a few weeks I thought it was only appropriate I share. 

The University of Texas at Austin once broke my heart. Someone thought it was a good idea to christen the UCF Bright House Networks stadium on September 15, 2007 with a home game against the Longhorns. A close game but big loss...I hope to never see burnt orange in the bounce house ever again. 

My dear buddy Joey was driving cross country to move to the city of angels. My timing is impeccable as I caught him in Austin for the day. So like any bitter UCF student would do, we snuck our way into the Texas Memorial Stadium. Well really it was all Joey's idea and I finally caved when I he figured out how to get in safely. 


A good 8 decades older than the UCF stadium and quite larger too, the Darrell K Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium holds over 100,000 die-hard Texans. 

After the stadium tour, we took over the Capitol. 

The capitol building is just a few blocks from the UT Austin campus. It's one of the tallest State Capitol buildings in the United States, the U.S. Capitol in D.C. included. 

The building sits on over 50 acres of land and is surrounded with 17 monuments and statues. The Goddess of Liberty holding a gilded star and sword mounts the Capitol building. 

A quick drive-by to see some of my favorite girls at the Kappa House was next on the agenda. 

Austin and their people love a good food truck. or trailer or car. They are everywhere and serving everything. Don't go to Austin without eating at one. Lovely beings have compiled an awesome list to make finding the perfect food truck experience, be sure to check out: Austin Food Carts.

For dinner that night, we strolled down South Congress for some burgers and shake at hopdoddy. Be prepared to wait in line but also be prepared for the shakes and truffle fries. 

No trip to Austin is complete with out stopping by the mothership Whole Food Market. The journey for natural foods and sustaining agriculture began in 1980 in Austin, Texas. I promise the $20 fruit cup taste even better in central Texas. 

Good night, Austin...stay weird.