Texas Trip Recap

9/20/2017


Hi y'all! I'm back in Illinois and totally bummed about it because I had the BEST time in Texas! Today on the blog, I'm recapping all the details and sharing some of my favorite iPhone photos from my trip to Houston.

FLYING



I haven't flown since 2015 and I LOVE IT, so being back up in the skies was awesome. My mom's not as crazy about flying as I am, so I got the window seat. (Thanks, ma!) I ACTUALLY finished a book on the plane too, which is a shock because it takes me FOREVER to finish a book. I read Ice Cream for Breakfast by Laura Jane Williams, which was recommended to me by Nicole over at Explosive Bagel. This book was so great- it's filled with inspiration and life lessons that helped me to step back and take life a little less seriously. I 10/10 recommend reading it; you can get your own copy here.

FUN
Here are some of the fun things we did:

Movie night



We went to the movies one night to see Home Again starring Reese Witherspoon. My aunt and I got the cutest baby popcorns and sodas and the movie was really good! It had plenty of lovable characters and told a different story than the usual rom-coms.

Antique hunting
We spent a day at a huge antique mall that my mom loves to go to when she visits TX. It had so much fun stuff to look at! I found some new records and jewelry to take home with me.

Games and face masks
Every night is a girls night at my aunt's house, so we played card games, cuddled the cats, ate desserts and tried a face mask! We stopped at Lush Cosmetics when we were at the mall and my aunt wanted to try their new Bunny Moon jelly face mask. It left our skin SO soft and bright; I want to buy some of my own!

Pool lounging



Every afternoon, the three of us spent time sitting around my aunt's "spool" (spa/pool) with a glass of wine and our toes in the water. This was honestly my favorite thing from the trip because it was so relaxing to just sit back and enjoy the moment.


Shopping and more shopping



Obviously, we shopped A LOT, because who would I be without shopping?! We walked around Market Street at the Woodlands, which is basically an outdoor mall setting, and wandered inside Charming Charlie, Lush, Bath & Body Works and Alex & Ani, where I HAD to get a Houston bracelet. We also went to Stein Mart and a local consignment boutique, which I will talk more about later.


OneRepublic Concert



The reason we decided to take this trip to TX was so I could attend the OneRepublic concert with my aunt. It was the perfect night for an outdoor concert and they were AWESOME to see live. James Arthur and Fitz and the Tantrums opened for them and I really enjoyed their music as well.



SHOPPING
We shopped A LOT as I mentioned before, but after all, it's what I do best! My favorite place we visited was a small consignment boutique close to my aunt's house called Designer Consignor. It wasn't a huge place, which I loved because it didn't feel overwhelming! They had racks of name brand clothing in great condition for even greater prices! And everyone in the store was so kind! I left with some awesome stuff, including two pairs of Tory Burch sandals. Neither pair was over $70, and they were BRAND NEW and MY SIZE. Total score!

FOOD
My favorite thing to do when I travel is try some new food I can't have back at home, so we did just that! Here's some things I ate:

The best BLT
The antique mall we spent the day at has a small food place inside that serves sandwiches, which is a GENIUS idea if you ask me. It takes a whole day to look through there, so a break for lunch has to be SNAPPY! I got the BLT sandwich and it was delicious and amazing and looked like this:


Whataburger



I couldn't NOT try Whataburger and my aunt made it happen! I got a burger with fries and a chocolate milkshake and it was SO good! There's nothing like that classic combo. Someone recently asked me if Whataburger lived up to the hype and I would say YES! If I had to compare the burger to something we have in Illinois, I would say it's similar to a Sonic burger, but it's still not quite the same. If you end up in an area with a Whataburger, I recommend trying it out!


Sweet Tomatoes



If you know me, you know I was PSYCHED to get to Texas because they actually still have Sweet Tomatoes restaurants! If you're not familiar with Sweet Tomatoes, it's a buffet-style joint with a huge salad bar, multiple soup choices, bakery items, hot potatoes, pastas and DESSERT. We had a few locations in Illinois, but they abruptly closed last year and I was left without one of my all time favorite food destinations. My aunt had actually never been, and let's just say we were all feeling the food hangover that day! But SO WORTH IT. Tears of joy were shed. (Adam was SO jealous he couldn't have some!)




OUTFITS
I didn't forget about my #ootds! This is what I wore:

Dress: LOFT | Sandals: Naturalizer

Tank: Old Navy | Shorts: LOFT | Sandals: Michael Kors

Top: Target | Shorts: H&M | Bag: Vera Bradley | Bracelets: Alex and Ani

Top: LOFT | Skirt: J. Jill | Sandals: Naturalizer | Bracelet: Brighton | Necklace: Vintage

HURRICANE HARVEY
The question I'm getting asked the most, for obvious reasons, is "how WAS it?" And not "how was it" for me, it's a "how was it" as in how was Houston after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. I mentioned in my last post how we had our trip planned long before Harvey and we weren't going to let him stop us from enjoying our family time. Luckily, he didn't stop us at all because everything we had planned to do, we were able to do.

In terms of damage, we saw quite a bit. My aunt lives on the higher end of her town, which didn't experience as much damage as the lower end. We did drive nearby and saw many damaged businesses, including places like Hobby Lobby and Target, which had piles of garbage in their closed off parking lots. The front of a local hotel also collapsed and they were working to fix it already. We also drove past an open field area that was designated as a "dump site" for all damaged items and trash and it was filled with mattresses, toys, appliances, etc. A local neighborhood had similar items lining the streets and driveways. A friend of my aunt's I met at the concert mentioned the flip flops she was wearing were the only shoes she had right now because the rest "floated away."

What stood out most to me was seeing how high the water had gotten by the discoloration of the trees. The leaves were a muddy gray color up to the point of where the water had risen. I also saw a flood gauge which is placed near intersections just like your average street sign. Before I left, my aunt shared a list of closed businesses in the area with me and it easily totaled over 75.

All I've been telling people is that seeing all that has been eye-opening. We don't experience hurricanes in Illinois, so sometimes it's hard to truly understand the aftermath. I learned that the people of Texas are a strong tribe, WAY stronger than Harvey. I am thoroughly grateful for the safety of my family and that we were still able to enjoy our time together.


You can still donate to the hurricane relief efforts for both Texas and Florida here.

Let's do some good,



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