Thankful- part 2

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

After a wonderful Thanksgiving day with my in-laws, we spent Friday with my family in New Braunfels/Gruene. We did a tasting/tour at the Dry Comal Creek Winery. In case you didn't know, yes, Texas has wineries. I'm not saying they compare to Napa or Sonoma, but they are here and we enjoy them. It was a beautiful day to enjoy this small, rustic winery.
Christmas decorations filled the tasting room and really helped us get in the holiday spirit!

 There were a couple of wines that weren't too shabby. They had a red that we tasted and enjoyed from the 2010 vintage. They had limited supply, so it was on sale for $5 a bottle! We didn't even have to think twice about buying a case. The vines were prepared for winter, but we learned a lot about the wine making process on our tour.
Once we got our fill of wine, we headed to the town of Gruene. Gruene is probably most famous for it's old, rustic music venue, Gruene Hall. But don't let the rustic feel fool you, some incredible musicians have played at Gruene Hall. If you are looking for a little Texas fun, this is a great place to see a show! In fact, one of my favorite musicians, Bob Schneider, was set to play the day we were there, but the show was sold out :(.
The town has fun little shops with a variety of antiques. Here are some good 'ol Texas antiques I found. Anyone in need of some blue boots or some chaps? :)
After walking around Gruene, my mother had the most wonderful idea. She mentioned dinner at Perla's and all of our eyes lit up and we immediately headed to the car to get back to Austin! Perla's is, hands down, my favorite restaurant in Austin. They have the best seafood, oysters from the Northeast (my FAV), lobster grits, a laid-back coastal feel AND to top it off, the waiting staff wears Vineyard Vines shirts....can it get any better?!!! I would live at Perla's if there was a beach nearby.
I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get better pictures while we were there, but I promise I will be back and take more pictures of the incredible decor!
It was a beautiful, fun day with family and a great way to wind down after Thanksgiving. I have been decorating our house for Christmas....I will share some pictures soon!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Today I'm thankful for a wonderful holiday. I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving!

I had a great time celebrating the holiday with both of my family that has raised me and loved me so well for 28 years and my newer, loving in-law family. We are so fortunate to have both families close by, so we rarely, if ever, go a holiday without seeing both. My wish came true and we have finally received some cooler weather to celebrate the holiday. On Thursday, we participated in the Turkey Trot with my family. This is a fun tradition that puts us in a great mood for Thanksgiving and makes me feel better about eating too much:). Then, we headed out to B's aunt and uncle's ranch. I had no idea what I was in for...what a beautiful place!

Before I share pictures, I must say MERRY CHRISTMAS to me and B...we got a nice camera...finally! Maybe you all can actually enjoy my pictures now. I know it's not Christmas yet, but this will give us time to learn more about it before our big trip. Plus, B and I can never wait until Christmas to open our gifts...we are so impatient :). Here is our first picture with our new fancy camera featuring me and miss Penny Lane.

 Ok, back to Thanksgiving and the gorgeous ranch. This ranch is about an hour or so out of Austin and with a wide-open landscape, beautiful trees, indoor/outdoor living, an infinity pool, feels like a sanctuary. It's beautifully designed and offers a very home-y, comfortable living space. The doors at the back of the house are floor to ceiling glass and they open all the way. So, the outside is truly part of the inside and vice versa. Besides the doors, the light fixtures were my favorite. They were everywhere, they were rustic, and they were gorgeous!

It was the perfect landscape to play around with our new camera. Forgive me for some of the not-so-good pictures...I'm learning. B has a big family and close to everyone was there to enjoy the beautiful setting. Kids were 4-wheeling around the property, ladies were cooking delicious food, and the grown-ups that didn't cook (me included) headed out to the skeet shoot range. Yes, we spent some time shooting skeet on Thanksgiving. This was a first for me and I missed every shot :). Not my forte....

When it came time to eat, there were tables inside and many outside with beautiful fall centerpieces. The food was so good! Then, we all grabbed dessert and gathered around the TV to watch the Texas vs. A&M game...a long standing tradition that is possibly coming to an end with A&M heading to the SEC. What a great game to end the tradition, at least for the Texas Longhorns. It came down to a field goal and Texas pulled it off! This was the icing on the cake for a wonderful turkey day!

With full tummies, we headed to my parents house to stay the night. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving day filled with good people, good food and good football. Friday was spent with my family at a winery and I'll share the details of our 2nd Thanksgiving day with you soon.

Longing for some winter-y weather....

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sometimes we get winter-y weather in Texas, sometimes we don't. Every year at this time, I begin seeing ads for Christmas and I get tons (TOO MANY) magazines full of beautiful Christmas gifts and decorations in beautiful winter-y settings. I start wishing I lived somewhere, where I could walk in fresh snow, wrap up in a blanket by a fire and have the only lights in sight be Christmas lights. I'm definitely a coastal person at heart, but I do enjoy snow, snow skiing and all of the magic snow brings to an area. When I say magic, I'm not thinking about defrosting windshields, shoveling snow out of the driveway, or any of the hard work that comes with snow. For today, we are only going to think about the good things snow brings...snowball fights, sledding, a white Christmas, warmth of a fire, the wonderful feeling of holding a hot coffee or hot chocolate, wearing a jacket and feeling your cheeks get bright pink from the cold wind. I'm really missing that feeling's been a while since I've taken a winter-y vacation. So today, we are going to head to Stowe, Vermont for Vacation Friday! I have never been to Stowe, but I have been in love ever since I saw the HGTV Dream Home in Stowe, VT! Remember this amazing place...that I didn't win :(...?
Stowe lies in a valley between Mount Mansfield and other peaks of the Green Mountains. As a Texan, my mountain trips usually involve New Mexico and Colorado. Both wonderful places, but Stowe has something different. An undiscovered small town feel. There is a main street with great, small shops and delicious restaurants. Also, there is a great ski mountain. Everything you could want on a winter-y vacation in a beautiful, small package.
I collect a Christmas Village. My mom started giving me pieces years ago and each Christmas I take it out piece by piece and display it on our shelves. There is a memory behind each piece. Well, the picture above looks just like my village! The perfect New England winter-y landscape. I love how you see the steeple of an old church in almost every picture of Stowe. What a winter wonderland! Even the Inn's have a quaint feel to them. You can visit Green Mountain Inn and celebrate Christmas and curl up by the fire.
The homes are beautiful, especially with Christmas decor!

So, I'm going to kick back and relax with a hot chocolate and a book by the fire in this amazing winter-y getaway! Want to join me?

A tough race...

Monday, November 14, 2011

I mentioned in an earlier post that my friend, Hilary, and I were training for a half marathon. We have run one before and decided to train in the dead heat of summer for the San Antonio Rock n' Roll half marathon. Well, the race was Sunday and I could feel all weekend that I wasn't quite ready. I probably could have trained more and my allergies were terrible. When I got to the race on Sunday morning, I was sweating just standing there because of the heat/humidity. Mentally and physically, I was in for a tough race.

Hilary is a great running buddy. She keeps a good pace and positive attitude. I was already struggling by mile 7, but did my best to put on a happy face and tried to use Hilary's encouraging words to lift me up...more like lift my feet up:). Our families were waiting for us at mile 8. As soon as I saw my mom, I broke down. I was so happy when Hilary kept going and I prayed she would get to the finish safely and beat her goal! The last thing I wanted to do was hold her back. I went off to the side and the idea of giving up on the race ran through my head. As I sat with my sister and husband, who were kind and allowed me to break down for a few minutes, I gathered myself and somehow got the strength to finish. I might be walking this thing and I may faint, but I'm going to finish one way or another.

My parents taught me many, many lessons in life and one of the most important ones was "don't give up." I wanted to finish this race regardless of my time. My sister offered to walk the last 5 miles with me, but I refused. She was in sandals for goodness sakes! My husband was in sneakers and was going to finish the race with me even when I told him I can do it on my own. B is not a runner, but he put a smile on his face and in his khaki shorts and fishing shirt ran 5 miles and crossed the finish line with me! We did it and I wasn't too far behind my past half marathon time. I'll take it!

The race benefited the Susan G. Komen foundation and when I was thinking about quitting, I kept thinking of the thousands of women and men fighting cancer. They fight for days, months, even years. I can do this one fight for them. Also, it reminded me how important family and friends are in times of need and in good times. I could not have finished this race without the love and support of my friends and family. B was my strength in every way and I was so blessed to cross the finish line with my best friend and hubby.

I want to Congratulate Hilary on a race well-done! Hilary ran 5 miles by herself and did an amazing job! I'm sorry I couldn't be your accountability partner this time, friend, but I'll be there next time. She is an amazingly strong woman!

Thank you family for all of your support and encouragement. Thank you, Annie, for your kind heart and offering to walk 5 miles with me in sandals. Especially, thank you B, for running by my side for 5 miles and for being my rock in a time of need. You are a beautiful example of what a man, husband and best friend should be and always amaze me in the number of ways you reflect Christ's image.

Yes, it was a tough race, but at least we were all smiling by the end and able to finish! We also got to take a picture with Robert Earl Keen at the finish, which was exciting.

More about dishes...

Monday, November 7, 2011

How many of you shop at Tuesday Morning? It's a great discount least some of the time. I had some time yesterday afternoon and decided to browse the aisles. I know I talk about Vietri dishes A LOT. I apologize for this. When I started this blog, my goal was not to discuss dishes all the time, but oh well. Here I go again.

When I was in Tuesday Morning yesterday, I had no where to be, so I really got to dig through the layers of stuff. Layers of Christmas decor, layers of gift ideas, layers of dishes. Guess what I found peeking out from under the dish pile:

Yep! Small and large green fish Vietri bowls. How cute are these?! I loved them and they were 72% off the original price. Amazing..right?! Well, it's the holiday season so I really have to watch my budget. I walked around the store for an hour holding these bowls debating whether or not I should get them. I finally convinced myself I did not need them and that they didn't go perfectly with my other dishes. So, I finally went and took them back to their shelf. My husband would be so proud.

Maybe, after the holidays, these little Vietri fishes will still be calling my name:). Even though I didn't buy anything FUN yesterday, I always love me some good, cheap finds.

East Coast Lover

Friday, November 4, 2011

I promise that I try and vary where I take you on Vacation Fridays, but lately I haven't been so good. I've been sticking to the East Coast. My heart keeps pulling me in that direction and I can't stop it. Sorry, it's not stopping today either. We are headed back to the East Coast.

Many of you have seen this picture from Coastal Living. Do you know where it was taken?
Palmetto Bluff, SC! A dream vacation destination for me! There is no way you have escaped reading about all the wonderful-ness the Inn at Palmetto Bluff has to offer. It's written up as one of the best hotels in the nation in almost every travel magazine. I fell in love with the low country landscape in Kiawah and look forward to visiting the low country again in Palmetto Bluff. It's amazing how tranquil and beautiful marshes can be. 
The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is located just a short drive from Savannah, GA. Spanish mosses surround you and make  you feel like you are out in the middle of nowhere. You can stay in cottages, one bedroom suites, or village homes. All are beautifully decorated with plenty of room to relax. You can ride a bike anywhere on the resort and on the tree-lined roads, there is a beautiful golf course, spa, river, outdoor fireplaces, numerous porches and unbelievable sunrises and sunsets. Take a look for yourself...

I'm ready to go to the Inn at Palmetto Bluff and sit on a porch with a glass of champagne in my hand. I cannot wait until the day I get to visit this place. It will be an unforgettable experience!

Sorry we went to the East Coast yet again, but I hope you enjoyed the visit to the Inn at Palmetto Bluff. If I wasn't from Texas, I would like to be from South Carolina. Beyond my love for the South Carolina flag, being close or even living on Kiawah Island or Palmetto Bluff would make me one happy camper! I've always heard that South Carolinians (spelling?) have ALMOST as much pride as Texans and now I know why.

Have a great weekend!