Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Braunfels and San Marcos

Well, I've been shopping so much that I wasn't planning on doing anything this weekend. But my mom invited me to go with her to New Braunfels to go to the BBQ cook-off and meet her new BBQ-cooker friend who will be cooking for her Blood Drive in San Antonio on Sept 11.

The long name of the BBQ Cook-off :)
The dirt road to get there...
You know it's never a good sign when there are the dreaded PORT-A-POTTIES!
I was there for the team JD's Xtreme BBQ Team...and that was their set up.
Some of the other teams...
Yes, those are swimming pools. It was like 105 degrees so feet were in there as well as kids.
The BBQ I ate was SO good....The brisket was tasty and the ribs were AWESOME. Also loved the thickness of the sausage. Lol that's what she said, wow, I should delete that.
JD's magic BBQ machine.
JD (and a horrible mishap picture) with his wife that I missed in the picture.
So no trip this close to the Tanger and Prime Outlets in San Marcos would have gone down...So we took a few hour stop to both. LOVE Coldwater Creek Outlet. Buy one get one Free AND discounted I'm in LOVE again... The Prime Outlets (across the street from the Tanger Outlets) have more upscale shops. Stopped here at Dooney and Bourke but found nothing I couldn't live without. Did find my new desk at Crate & Barrel though :)
So, the rest of the time I spent on school stuff. The first few weeks are always tricky, you know? Next weekend is Labor Day though!!!

Fort Worth (Last Weekend)

Last weekend I got away for the weekend before school started! I went to the Kimball Art Museum because of the Texas Highways editor's article on architecture. The small art museum was followed by shopping :) and good food. I had a fun trip, and it was good to see Fort Worth again!
The Kimball Art Museum's architecture looks very strange to me. But in some aspects like a blank slate, filled with beauty and art on the inside, but very blah on the outside. It was almost like entering a vault.
Up close of the sculpture in front of the entrance.
There weren't hundreds of paintings but the artists they had acquired were very dinstinctive! Here is a Rembrandt.
My FAVORITE just sort of spoke to me. The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Maidens. A woman whose about to die, just looking up. I was thinking, how many times do we think we're in such a bad place and never see the angels above looking down on us and holding out their hands, longing to help and heal us. I don't know, it was just sort of inspirational to know we're not alone when we suffer, or are near death.
Van Gogh!
The only appropriate Picasso I could post :)
The book store and down the corrider was the new Maya exhibit to open THIS weekend. I wish I had seen it but it'll be in town for about 6 months so I have time. :)
The small area with the pieces of art.
Arguably, the first Michaelangelo painting made in his primary years of study. Just acquired for the museum! Outside of the Kimball Art Museum. They had water running in a little reflection pond area. I sat out with my journal and just had some quiet time with my iPod. Ahhh, gotta love those peaceful moments in your life. When I was finished with the museum I asked the information desk for a mall recommendation. I was worried because it was tax free weekend, but the malls were actually pretty bearable. Had a good experience. Didn't really find anything here at the Ridgmar Mall except I spent MEGA coupons on at one store.
So I GPSed another mall and ended up here at the Hulen Mall. Here I found some cute dresses at the department stores :) Woohoo!
The low point of the trip was leaving the Hulen Mall and looking for a Starbucks to look for cheap hotel rates. I think I spent 45 minutes going around to these Starbucks Mystery Places from my GPS. I eventually just stopped at a Denny's and got a cup of coffee while searching. Found the best price was here at Hampton Inn in Forest Hill...which was actually on the way home!
The room was beautiful...
And the suite was only $5 more so I had to do it. I spent the night here getting some work done and crashing hard. Woke up early, got some breakfast, and headed up to prep for the first day of school!!
Fort Worth, hope to see you soon!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Brenham, Austin, and Fredericksburg

So, last weekend I took off to Brenham for the Lavender Festival and the Windy Winery Grape Stomp, then went through Austin, where I stopped for the night, and made it to the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg. It was my FIRST solo trip since the surgery and I LOVED every minute of it (you know, other than the traffic parts). :)

First stop was the Lavender Festival in Brenham city limits although I think it claimed to be Chappell Hill's festival. Not a big deal, same area... It was a nice, little place. It had this gazebo and small pond/lake in the back of the picture. Lots of people seemed to be enjoying it.
One of the things to do is pick lavendar from the field and make a little bouquet for about $5. I couldn't really find any purple buds though, but I can really late at the end of the festival so maybe they had already been picked? I couldn't find anything out in the field to ask, though.
The thing I enjoyed was the SHOPPING. Ohhhhh yeah, craft fair! No, I didn't buy anything, but I wanted to. They had some good stuff there. And all really created by the people from the surrounding cities. Not just the fake jewelry everyone sells at these things. I talked to some nice vendors, too. Will definitely have to see them again in Brenham for the Scarecrow Festival.
They had lots of products with lavender in them. I tried the Lavender Lemonade. Tasted like regular lemonade though but it was PURPLE! So, that was fun. Plus, it was like a million degrees outside so it was really nice to have something to drink.
After shopping, and getting some lavender cookies and a lavender Christmas ornament, I walked around in the lavender fields. The people there were so friendly. They kept asking if they could drive me back to my car in their golf carts. I enjoyed the little festival. But, there wasn't TOO much to do so I took off the Windy Winery and the Grape Stomp also advertised in Texas Highways.
I'm so grateful to have my GPS, for REAL. This place was back on some country road...Lol, and not much help from signs. When I pulled up, I was almost like "where is it??" but this little place packs a PUNCH!
See? Looks like a little shed....but walk through the door and you forget all that.
Outdoors they had live music on the left and in the back were two "craft" booths with a jewelry booth made out of gold wire and a crochet booth. To the right was the grape stomp area. I thought it would be bigger, but it was more of a tourist trap than anything. Fun, nonetheless...
Well, no one was really around so I walked over to see the vineyard. It's so hot in Texas right now, nothing looks edible.
Found some baby grapes, as I call them :)
Then, I got up the guts to do the grape stomp. (I'm pretty sure my legs look like they should be attached to elephants and not a human.) Helpful hint: do not wear an ankle legth dress to do a grape stomp lol. No, it was fun. The people I met there were super nice.
The feeling of stomping on those grapes will haunt me for weeks!! No, it was fun. It was totally different. After stomping you step onto a white t-shirt that takes your foot prints on them, which will stain. Then I got the decorate the shirt.
Then, it was the wine tasting!! I got to try all the wines and I really enjoyed both the whites AND the reds. I usually HATE red wines but these were actually pretty appetizing. Might be something to start with to acquire the taste. There were a LOT of people in the tasting room (which I couldn't get a picture of) so I decided to take off to Austin.
My shirt....LOL I have big feet I think....
When I got to Austin I decided to do some (more) shopping at Lakeline Mall. I hit the Macy's and Dillards....and Build A Bear and Dollar Store lol. Needless to say, I enjoyed myself.
Then I decided to find the cheaper of the Hampton Inns by the airport. I loved the stay until the next morning I found a giant spider. Yuck!!
Love the rooms at Hampton Inn. The bed is just too comfy for words.
The next day I went to the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg. It's featured in Texas Highways because of the amazing architectural restoration/renovation that was recently made. It's a FABULOUS museum and I just have to say to any Veteran THANK YOU!!!

This was definitely the most meaningful experience, the Pearl Harbor room. This actual midget submarine (official name) is in this huge room while a video plays with bombs going off bringing a small sense of what happened. I cried. It's touching.
They had amazing historical weapons from the WWII war.
The entrance...from the side. It's supposed to symbolize a submarine coming up to the surface.
Another view of the architecture.
The reflection garden dedicated to all those who made sacrifices during WWII.
When you pay your $12 admission to the NMPW, it includes admission to this place as well, the Admiral Nimitz Museum. He was one of the distinctive leaders of the armed forces during WWII. They have some artifacts. My favorite thing was writing a letter to a wounded soldier overseas. They send them to the wounded for you. Love that.....
Then, while I was on Main St......I went shopping!!!! And yes, bought too much, again. Good grief, I HAVE to get out of this shopping spree mindset.
Love me some Fredericksburg shopping!! Found great jewelry, scrapbooking and housewares.
And, after shopping I made it to the last tour at the Pacific Combat Zone, also included in the Museum admission. The tour guide was very nice, and the small group of about 10 people were very nice. Here we saw lots of actual combat vehicles.
This was the biggest plane used in the war (b-29? does that sound right?).
This is the site of the live reenactments that I hope to come back and see with my dad. I bet it's awesome to see the US soldiers take this pretend Japanese beach!
Paying respects to those who gave their lives for the greater goodness of our earth. My heart aches that life sees evilness. But I'm hopeful that these people will rest in peace until redemption day. And, on that note, I LOVED my trip. I was so excited to get back into my travel life. And now, I hope to contine each weekend!!