Austin – East End & Holly



Holly is one of those fabulously Austin neighborhoods. Obviously it’s in Austin but it FEELS like the Austin vibe that everyone talks about. Holly is one of the neighborhoods on the east side that has been going through a lot of renovations! The area feels very hip and a lot safer than older generations would remember it.

You’ll find a lot of younger professionals, and college students walking or biking to nearby eateries and coffee shops during the day, and at night everyone is walking to some restaurant or bar to enjoy some drinks and live music.

It’s one of those “NUPINCOMING” areas that is still undergoing a lot of construction and re-vamping but has somehow held onto the charm and unique nature of Austin. Here are just a few places to check out on your visit:


Scoot Inn was built in 1871 and has run as a grocery store, a saloon, a restaurant, and beer tavern. Most notably nowadays, it’s known for live music! You can click the link to check out their calendar of events.


Kebabalicious  started out as a food trailer and has now won it’s way into the hearts of Austinites and placed a storefront on East 7th. Their kebabs, k fries and even their salads (their turk salad with chicken is a favorite of mine) are all amazing!


Hop on the Metro Rail at Comal Street! You can find routes and plan a trip here.


One place that I’ve been dying to try is Cuvee Coffee! I saw it on the Daytripper and thought it looked so Austin, plus I couldn’t wait to try the coffee that everyone has been talking about. They are most notably recognized right now for their BLACK&BLUE nitrogenated cold brew coffee. Basically it’s a coffee that drinks like a beer. It’s got that same creamy froth that you would find on a Guinness and it’s really good! Drink it there so you can drink it from a fancy glass 🙂


Burn Pizza + Bar gets it’s name from it’s perfectly crisped thin crust pizza. Check out their daily happy hour from 4-7pm. Discounts on drinks and 25% off all pizzas!


The Grackle – “Chill hipster haunt known for its draft beer list & jukebox plus darts, billiards & spacious patio.”


Zilker Brewing Co. is a really neat brewery experience in East Austin. Enjoy the custom bar, six delicious beers and food trailers nearby.


Licha’s Cantina is always really popular around dinner time. You can expect a little bit of a wait for food but enjoy a bar out back and a nicely lit outdoor patio/courtyard while you wait! Five dollar happy hours are Tues-Fri 4-6pm. The last time I ate here I ordered the tacos Al Pastor and they were really good!

Hope you enjoy East Austin!! And let me know if you check out any other awesome places because there’s lots to explore around this area 🙂


Dreamy Spring Dresses


1. Angel Lace Dress  2. Into You Slip Dress   3. Embroidered Austin Dress  4. Layered Sandstone Maxi  5. Fringe-Striped Shift  6. Juliet Eyelet Dress  7. Joclyn Smocked Bodice Midi Dress  8. Amethyst Pintucked Frock Dress  9. Knot Front Ribbed Mini Dress

Literally can’t believe that it’s already March! This year is already flying by. The weather here in Austin is starting to get really nice and that leaves me needing to shop for some new clothes! When I think of spring I think of dresses for some reason, anyone else? And I LOVED all of these. Just some ideas, still browsing.

Oh before I go. I’m starting a Newsletter list for the blog! It’ll be updates here and there when anything big comes up, I’ll try to not bombard your inbox but I’d love for you to sign-up  🙂  click here –> * Sincerely Samanda Newsletter Sign-up *


Tuesday Time-Out


Thanks for following along, I really appreciate the love, support, shares and comments I get from you! I’m taking a brain break today 🙂 Hope you all have an amazing Tuesday and a HAPPY MARCH FIRST! What goals are you working toward today? Or toward this month?? So happy it’s March! If you missed my post about things to do in Austin this March you can find it here. Don’t forget to comment about your goals! One of mine this month is to learn how to work smarter when it comes to blogging so that I have time to let my brain rest! Any tips?


2016 Wine and Wildflower Trail


I feel like this post needs to start out like that Oprah commercial for Weight Watchers, except about wine. “THIS IS THE JOY FOR ME! I. LOVE. [WINE]. I LOVE BREAD…I MEAN, WINE.” Sam and I have fun saying that commercial in unison every time it comes on because they play it on repeat in between our Hulu shows…

But seriously, don’t you love wine and the beautiful Texas Hill Country?!? Me too! Especially in the spring when it’s covered in bluebonnets! It’s the perfect setting for a road trip and a day of sipping on wine with good friends and family. Who needs to travel all the way to Napa or Sonoma when we have great wine right here in Texas! JK I still wanna go there someday BUT I’ll enjoy the Texas Hill Country too, probably just as much!

The 2016 Wine and Wildflower Trail is coming up April 1-17, but you want to get your tickets NOW because it sells out every year usually by the first weekend! You get 17 days to visit 48 wineries, get complimentary tastings at up to 4 wineries a day and 15% off 3 bottle purchases! Also for fun (and so you remember where you’ve been already) you get a passport that will be stamped at each place you visit!

You can find more information and a list of all the wineries here.

georgetown-grapecreek-1grape-creek-winery-paninigrape-creek-winery-georgetowngrape-creek-winery-trattoria-cafeFour Photo’s:

Extra Hill Country Winery Events

  • 4.0 Cellars – Live music on Saturdays and Wildflower Brunch coming up on Sat. April 9th
  • Becker Vineyards – March 19&20th is their Annual Bluebonnets, Bluegrass and BBQ. “Woodstreet Bloodhounds will play Bluegrass music on the lawn. There is no music cover charge. Music is from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. BBQ will be served from 11:30 a.m. until out.We encourage you to bring your lawn chairs for this event!!!”
  • Chisholm Trail Winery – Has a pizzeria! The Oval Oven Pizzeria is open every Friday and Saturday, noon to 5pm and Sunday, noon to 4pm.
  • Compass Rose Cellars – Dine at The Kitchen and then stay the night in a casita anytime! Or check out their Last Supper Dinner on Good Friday or their Easter Sunday Brunch.
  • Flat Creek Estate – On March 12th, go to a Crawfish Boil! Tickets are $12 and featured wines will be $5 a glass. Other dining events include their Rustic Wine Dinner: a 3 course meal and wine pairings at $50/ticket throughout the year. You can find dates on their site! OR make a reservation to enjoy some fine dining at their Bistro.
  • Messina Hof – March 5th there’s a Murder Mystery Dinner for $69/ticket! There are also a lot of other regular events at the three different locations in Fredericksburg, Grapevine and Bryan including Trivia Night, Wine & Chocolate Pairings, Wine and Cheese Pairings, etc.

Now get out there and drink some Texas grape juice!!



What to do when you hit that don’t give a flip phase



Me circa like 2006 or 2007. I don’t know how I didn’t care that my hair looked so crazy, so I’m gonna say maybe I was coming from soccer practice or something and was running late (or that I just didn’t care)…I do distinctly remember the lady at ACC who was taking my picture asking if I wanted to do something about my hair first and I remember acting like I had no idea what she was talking about…haha. 

You know that phase you go through when it’s easier to not work out? To not put any thought or time into putting together an outfit. To not really do your hair at all, or actually ever. BUT, it’s okay because you just don’t give a flip! Who cares. Life goes on, right?Welcome to my life every few months. I find motivation, then I lose it. And sometimes I just don’t really care.

It’s kind of like that point in your life when you were single but weren’t really looking for anyone and it was pure freedom to look unkempt and be okay with it. You know what I mean? Roll out of bed with your hair a mess, sweats and an oversized t-shirt, and you probably haven’t shaved your legs in months and you’re eating pizza every night kind of stuff. Well, you totally reach that point in marriage too! Suddenly you’ve reached this level of comfort that would have had each other running in the opposite direction if you were just dating. And no lie, it’s kind of a fun place to be. It’s accepting and comfortable and like I said, fun. I’ll spare you the fun details BUT just as I did in my single days, even in my married days I always hit a point where I realize it’s time to work on myself a little bit!

If you’re at that point (I’m right there with you!), I’m sharing tips to help you get that oomph back! 🙂

  • Get up early. Ease into it if you need to, but trust me, once you get into the swing of it, it becomes eaasy. This way you have extra time (for a quiet time, time to reflect, time to plan, time to just be and rest and enjoy coffee) before whatever you need to tackle that day.
  • Make your bed! It makes a difference, trust me. I mean I know this tip is in every self help book out there, but I think it works! It gives you that same feeling and satisfaction that you get from cleaning your entire house and then being able to enjoy it that way. It sets the atmosphere of your day!
  • Fit in a morning work out. Make yourself go, as much as you want to skip it, just keep forcing yourself to get through it until it becomes something you enjoy. I don’t know what it is about morning work outs but they are SO much better than evening workouts. They completely set the tone for the whole day. You feel good, you have more energy and your evening feels free.
  • Fix your hair! For me that means curling my hair. I used to use my curling wand to give myself nice curls/waves almost every day! Granted there are other ways to fix your hair without doing it so much damage, but fix it in a way that you love, that looks nice! I heard this quote once from a lady I really admire, she said, “if someone hasn’t complemented your hair in two weeks then it’s time to change it!”
  • Put on an outfit you love. Putting on some actual clothes helps you feel more put together!
  • Put some make-up on. This one always helps me because unless I’m at the beach where my face is constantly getting sun and sea salt, my skin is discolored and has lots of acne scars! Now, I still don’t mind going make-up less (plus it helps my skin breathe!) but it’s nice to remember what you look like all fixed up sometimes!
  • Fix your nails! I bite mine to no end…but I’ve found that when I put the time into painting them I usually take better care of my nails and let them grow out! Plus just like putting on actual clothes, it does kind of make a difference in feeling more put together.
  • Eat good for you stuff! I’m not saying completely change your diet. Moderation is always key but work in more of the things you know will make you feel good. Like green juice, raw veggies and fruits!
  • Drink lots of lemon water!! There are so many benefits of consuming lemon: it’s good for digestion, good for skin, energy boosting, etc. Same with getting enough water! It helps flush your body of toxins and keeps things functioning properly! You’ll feel better with this one, for sure!
  • Have a date night or go out for a girls night! Get all glammed up and go have fun with the people you love. Being around people you love is confidence boosting, lowers stress levels and helps your body produce endorphins (because chances are you’ll laugh at some point) which lead to an overall sense of well-being!

And always remember, you rock!


Date Night Ideas for Couples Working with a Budget


Sam and I went on a date the other night to see Deadpool – that Marvel movie starring Ryan Reynolds (I don’t recommend it by the way! I couldn’t believe that it was a Marvel movie. Too raunchy and twisted for my taste…definitely not a movie kids should go to either!) – luckily every Tuesday the theater by our house does $5 movie night and it got me thinking about dates we have done and love doing that typically aren’t that much money. Dinner at a trendy restaurant is fun and all…but those kind of dates can add up quick $$$….

Here are 11 date night ideas that are a little bit more friendly on the wallet:

  • Explore your city! Austin is filled with fun (and sometimes really weird – see below) murals and I love finding them and taking pictures! Go on a photo scavenger hunt, discover new little parks, or areas you had never been/seen before.


AS-engaged-008both photo’s by: All Heart Photography
  • Go on a hike! A great way to get in some physical activity and good conversation.


  • Try making a new recipe together for dinner! Turn on some Frank Sinatra, pour you both some Owner’s Box Cab and get cookin!


  • Go to a minor league baseball game in your area and make a bet on the winning team. I know lawn seats to watch a game are cheap for the Round Rock Express.


  • Go out dancing! You can pay $8 at the famous Broken Spoke Dance Hall and get an hour of two stepping and western swing dance lessons! And then stay after the lesson and keep dancing!


  • Go to a concert or play in the park if they have those in your city. I know Austin always has free performances at Zilker Hillside Theater and free music at Blues on the Green. Bonus – you can pack a picnic!


  • Go to a museum! Blanton Museum of Art is free on Tuesdays! A lot of museums offer reduced prices/free days.


  • Listen to a good podcast together. I talked about Serial in a couple previous posts, the podcast Sam and I have been listening to together! It’s nice because you can pause it and then talk about it together.


  • Have a marathon of your favorite show on Netflix or Hulu. Get cozy in your PJ’s, pop some corn, and cuddle up next to each other. Don’t just do it, make it an experience!


  • Sit on your back porch/patio/lawn with a glass of wine and a blanket and watch the sunset or look at the stars.


  • Go to a coffee shop and play a board game. And don’t let your hubby/boyfriend outsmart you at checkers over and over and over again like me lol.


Any others you’d add to the list? Hope you enjoy and happy date night-ing!



Weekend in Leakey, TX



Our friend Jon took this picture and it’s the perfect picture of Zoey and Nugget’s weekend. They swam and played fetch and ran round the whole time. They were sooo enjoying life!


Walking along the Frio



This picture was also taken by Jon! I’m glad he caught some because I never managed to pull out my camera. I love this one because it catches one of Nugget’s looks.


Lots of deer in Leakey!

Sam and I had renters in our Austin house so we took to Leakey for the weekend! It worked out perfect because Sam had a day job out near Leakey on Monday, so we were able to have a little peaceful getaway at the same time.

Sam’s parent’s own a quaint little double-wide with access to the Frio River. As our friend – Sam’s coworker Jon – puts it: “it’s like stepping back in time to the 60’s (or some decade around that). This is literally my grandma’s house.” Which he means in the best way possible, and I completely get it! Not to mention the limited to no cell service (unless you have at&t)…it really is a nice way to be out of touch and enjoy a slower pace like the good ole days 😉

We drove up Saturday (the most beautiful hill country drive) and listened to the Serial podcast, Season Two! Season two is about Bowe Bergdahl, the US Army Soldier who abandoned his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held captive by the Taliban for 5 years. It’s pretty interesting because Sarah Koenig – the reporter – does a great job of interviewing Bowe and other’s involved or acquainted with the events surrounding Bowe during this time and she pieces it all into an intriguing storyline. I posted about Season One here, but you can find the podcast and season two directly here.

Leakey is tiny, but charming! And it’s a great place to visit in the fall when you can drive 30 minutes to nearby Lost Maples State Park and see the beautiful changing leaves or in the summer when it’s hot enough to enjoy floating the Frio River. But you can really enjoy the view that Leakey provides year round.

There’s also a little grocery store – Leakey Mercantile – if you didn’t manage to hit the HEB in Hondo (or another grocery store depending on where you are coming from). And there are good restaurants, like Mama Chole’s (good Mexican food) and a fun hang out/biker favorite The Hog Pen. Plus a handful of others along the main town road.

A couple other neat places to stop nearby:

1. 27 minutes away is the town of Utopia. If you golf at all, you’ll enjoy the famous Utopia Golf Course, while also getting to say that you have been to the famous town that the movie “Seven Days in Utopia” was filmed. Make sure and eat at the Lost Maples Cafe on the Main Street. The food is good and the building is historic.

2. 10 miles away is Garner State Park located on the Frio River where you can enjoy swimming, hiking and camping!

3. As previously mentioned, Lost Maples State Park! Great hiking trails, sight seeing and you can camp as well.

Happy Travels!


The Art of Packing a Weekend Getaway Bag



This can be soo hard. Especially for us ladies, am I right?? I know for me, I always start out with a few things and then by the time I’m done packing I’ve convinced myself that I need two bags full of stuff that I probably won’t wear. Because I normally stick to my favorite shirts/outfits and outwear them anyway. Sometimes I’ve even been totally okay with wearing my favorite outfit two days in a row…we’ve all had those outfits that we just didn’t want to take off! Or is it just me?

BUT I’ve gotten a lot better at the whole overpacking thing. Very slowly (minus the fact that I always bring three bags because –> camera bag and backpack with my macbook and any books I want to read). Basically you have to be okay with minimalizing instead of packing like every day could possibly be a fashion show.

Here are a few questions that help me pack the perfect small getaway <clothes, shoes & toiletries> bag::

  • What do I absolutely NEED at my destination? Essentially am I dressing for warm/cold weather?
  • What can I wear that goes with the one or two pairs of shoes that I’m going to bring? That’s it. Limit yourself to one or two pairs of shoes and go from there. Don’t fall into the shoe trap!
  • How many days will I be there? Is this a two, three or four day long weekend trip and will I be able to wash clothes at my destination? I’ve found that aiming to wear the same thing there and back for travel days helps to eliminate an extra outfit! Then I pack one outfit for each day, one pair of unders and socks for each day, but only one set of pajamas for the entire trip. I don’t think this is gross, but if you do, you can always wash them there! The thing about packing small is that it makes doing laundry a lot easier too! Pop whatever id dirty in on speedwash/speeddry and it doesn’t take too much time while on vacay.
  • Do I want to bring toiletries/buy extra toiletries there/will they be providing toiletries?I keep my toiletries light. Just the essentials because I normally don’t feel like buying extra shampoo, conditioner & body wash while we are there. Besides those things: a razor, face wash. And only the make-up I know I use regularly, every day. Foundation, Bronzer, blush, lipstick, tinted eyebrow gel, eyeliner and mascara. My everyday look.. Unless you feel like carting along a big caboodle, I just don’t see the point. Especially when I’m going somewhere tropical…I don’t like wearing much make-up anyway!
  • Is there anything I packed that i can take out? Look over your bag one last time once it’s packed and if there’s anything that you know you packed as a ‘just in case’, take it out!

Voila! The perfect weekend getaway bag!

Happy Travels!




March Events in Austin


March is pretty much here, almost! March is always a fun, crazy & busy time in Austin because of the RODEO & SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST! BUT there are also a lot of other fun things to do, check it out below!

March 3rd:

  • First Thursday & West End Galleries 1st Thursday’s. This will happen every month! You can look back at my February post to find links to these two events.

March 4th:

  • BBQ AUSTIN AND WHISKEY MYERS: “Come out to BBQ Austin for a day of BBQ, live music and carnival fun from Austin’s largest carnival. Teams from all over Texas will be competiting for the title of “BBQ Austin Grand Champion” and will offer free samples to the public. Concerts will take place on the outdoor stage from 2:00-7:30 p.m., with Whiskey Myers headlining the event at 8:30 p.m. Fairgrounds admission is $8 for adults, $5 for kids. Parking is $10 at the gate.”

March 5th:

  • BBQ AUSTIN AND JOSH ABBOTT BAND: “Come out to BBQ Austin for a day of BBQ, live music and carnival fun from Austin’s largest carnival. Teams from all over Texas will be competiting for the title of “BBQ Austin Grand Champion” and will offer free samples to the public. Concerts will take place on the outdoor stage from 2:00-7:30 p.m., with Josh Abbott Band headlining the event at 8:30 p.m. Fairgrounds admission is $8 for adults, $5 for kids. Parking is $10 at the gate.”
  • Modern Home TourSee some of the prettiest and most well designed modern homes in Austin on this four hour tour and get great ideas for your house!
  • The Beach Boys Tickets 3/5 3-5-2016
    8:00 PM
    Long Center For The Performing Arts in Austin, TX View Tickets


  • Sherwood Forest Faire is going on every weekend in March. Check out my Feb post for a link!
  • Austin’s Original Pub Run: Run a 2 or 5 mile race through downtown from pub to pub and even by a few watering holes. Check out the pubs on the list through the link above.
  • Illuminate Austin: “Illuminate Austin is an evening walk at the Long Center, along a path lined with luminarias. This fun, family-friendly event benefits SafePlace, which provides shelter and essential services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Austin. This year, we are so excited to have The Mrs. as entertainment! For a sneak peek on the band, check out this video. You won’t want to miss an opportunity to rock out with these ladies.”

March 6th

  • Zilker Kite Festival: Watch hundreds of beautiful kites, or enter a kite contest while also enjoying food and other vendors!

March 9th

  • Nerd Nite (happens every month): Speed Dating w/ a fun topic of conversation! (also in Feb. post)

March 11-20th

  • South by Southwest: LOTS of live music, films, interactive fun stuff and exhibitions. The passes are pretty pricey and while I’ve never bought a pass, you can find a lot of free things to do and lots of giveaways while downtown during SXSW. Last year I found free Kendra Scott Jewelry! See an interview I did with Kendra Scott here.


March 11-26th

  • Rodeo Austin: My favorite by far is the music! This year some of my fav’s coming to the Austin Rodeo are Willie of course, Josh Abbott Band, Cam, Brett Eldredge, Eli Young Band, Josh Turner & Kevin Fowler! Fav by far is probably Brett Eldredgand my tickets are already purchased! 🙂

Mom & I at the Austin Rodeo in 2010 watching Lady Antebellum perform. They were SO good live.


Sam and I with a group of friends at the Houston Rodeo that same year watching Eli Young Band perform. Totally just friends at that point.

March 16-19th

  • Heart of Texas Rockfest: “The Heart of Texas Rockfest has played host to Rock Legends and Hitmakers like Tom Morello, George Lynch, Blue October, Ghostland Observatory, Pepper, Bob Schneider and many more. Every year a star is born and we continue to keep the event FREE and open to the public. NO $200 WRISTBAND REQUIRED.”

March 16

  • Austin Music Awards: Exactly what it sounds like. Kind of like an Austin version of the Grammys. Tickets are $25!

March 17th

  • St. Patrick’s Day Austin: A family festival for people on St. Paddy’s Day (which did you know that was the correct way to spell it?) Get your fill of Irish traditions. OR just go to a pub downtown. Fado’s Irish Pub is always hoppin and will surely get crazy on St. Paddy’s. But be sure to buy tickets to the party before they’re sold out!

This was one of my best friend’s 21st birthday (Sam D to the right of me in red) in 2009. In January I might add, but my roommate and I thought it would be fun to wear Irish shirts and be Irish for the night.

March 19-20th

  • Artists & Artisans Festival: “The intimate festival showcases the work of more than 30 American artists in beads, watercolor, metal, glass and other media. The sale includes nature-themed handmade items, such as mesquite bowls and handwoven clothing, painted silk art and sculptured jewelry as well as exquisite photographs and paintings on glass. The gardens are gearing up for spring with bluebonnets, winecup and other flowers prepping to bloom.”

March 24-26th

  • Easter Hill Country Tour: Grab your road bike and celebrate Easter on this 3 day tour through the Texas Hill Country. Don’t forget to snap some pictures in the bluebonnets!

March 25-27th

  • Honk! TX: “HONK!TX is a nonprofit, community-driven festival that brings street and brass bands from around the country to perform for free in the public spaces of Austin, Texas. Mobile and unamplified, HONK! bands transform everyday locations into spontaneous stages, dissolving the line between crowd and performers and inviting everyone to celebrate the joys of music and community. A range of genres will be represented: New Orleans second-line brass, European Klezmer and Balkan, Brazilian, West African and more. HONK! is a celebration of community, collaboration and creative expression. Join the revelry!”

March 27th


March 29-April 3rd

  • Broadway’s Cabaret: My mom and I have been to Wicked and The Little Mermaid together here in Austin and they are always so good!

Happy Planning!



Quick, Easy, & Healthy Protein Pancakes



Quick, Easy, & Healthy Protein Pancakes

These Quick, Easy, & Healthy Protein Pancakes are a lot easier to make than I thought they would be! Here’s how to make them. There are a lot of different versions and ways you can make protein pancakes, but I tried to keep these as simple as possible so that you could most likely make them if you were running low on ingredients or hadn’t made your weekly/bi-weekly grocery store run.

Protein Pancakes

  • 2 scoops of protein. (I used Quest’s peanut butter flavor)
  • 2 eggs
  • a pinch of baking powder
  • a generous sprinkle of cinnamon
  • a dash of vanilla extract
  • about 1/4 cup of almond milk (or your choice of milk…I just eyeballed it, so you don’t necessarily need to measure it out, just a quick pour)


  • preheat buttered skillet on medium
  • mix above ingredients together really well (using quest protein the mixture was very thick, so it’s okay if it doesn’t seem like regular pancake batter)
  • scoop amount of batter to form the size pancake you want and quickly mold the batter into a pancake shape. Let cook 30-45 seconds per side. Remove.
  • Topping Ideas: berries and whip cream, lite pancake syrup, nutella, peanut butter or toppings of choice!

Hope you enjoy!!