a weekend in san antonio

Every family has a season. To some, harvest keeps their loved ones in the field. To others, tax season keeps their plus one in the office for too many hours of the day.

In our family, we have college football. 

I love college football. I love the hype, the Johnny Footballs, rivalry games and heated commentary. I also love when that guy I married isn’t exhausted and can give me my much desired attention. Confession: I really like attention. Myers-Briggs ENTP at your service. 

When I was born do you think anyone thought to themselves, “good things she’s born after Championship Weekend! It will be so nice for her and her sportswriter husband to have a weekend to celebrate and unwind!”? Probably not.

Unrelated: I was, however, born during an IU hoops game. According to my mom, neither the doctor nor my dad could keep their eyes off the game. I don’t blame them. That season, IU went on to win the gold ball over Syracuse with Steve Alford on the roster. Man, I feel horrible even writing this. I grew up in a Gene Keady household and I was born during an IU game. 

san antonio

This past weekend, we drove 80 miles south on I-35 to explore Texas’ seventh largest city. We had both been before – separately – and were determined to discover the most authentic attributes of this sparkling city, this time as married folk.

After a quick stop at the outlet mall and a birthday feast at Taqueria Guanajuato, both receiving high approval ratings from yours truly, we rolled into the at&t center.

Losing in overtime, the Spurs held Kobe from surpassing Jordan's point record, for one more night anyway. Standing room only for the Spurs. Or maybe it was for Swaggy P? 

From now on y'all call me Swaggy B.

I'm serious.

Staying on the River Walk ensured we had easy access to mostly everything and the most incredible view. Saturday morning  my first morning as a 28-year-old  for instance, I clutched my vanilla latte as I strolled through the empty River Walk as vendors set up their art displays. Not horrible, I tell you.  

This is what happens when someone proposes on your birthday. Bar = high. 

Everyone knows about the River Walk, but not everyone knows about San Antonio's historic neighborhoods. Maybe they do, but they probably don't take the time to visit.

It's worth the time.

Oh my sweet, King William Historic Neighborhood. I love your tacos and outdoor spaces, new renovations and friendly folks. You were a perfect follow to Alamo: The Price of Freedom in IMAX and seeing the interior of such an iconic Texas landmark. 

As a new Texan, I appreciate you more than I ever have. 

Right above tacos. 

San Antonio is best discovered when you leave plans to the wayside.

Walk, explore and let your phones die. Sip bourbon you'd never try. Pair sparkling wine with your french fries. Leave the bars only to rent a way-too-expensive movie on demand. Regarding the latter: spend too many minutes discussing how Guardians of the Galaxy's storyline is modeled after the defenders of the Alamo.

Visit San Antonio. 

Fall in love with Texas.


how to explore San antonio like a haney

Stay on the River Walk
Order the fish (and chicken) tacos at Rosarios.
Devour the Akaushi at Bohanan's Prime Steaks & Seafood.
Grab a local pint (Shiner Cheer!) at The Friendly Spot
Absolutely order the fries to pair with your sparkling wine at Zinc Wine & Bistro
Learn about the Alamo on one the largest IMAX screens in Texas.
Visit the Alamo.

If everyone else read theSkimm, would you read it too?

Of course the Molly has beed featured. She needs her diva light to shine hard.

Of course the Molly has beed featured. She needs her diva light to shine hard.

The news is exhausting. 

And there’s a lot of it. I don’t know about your life, but mine is overflowing with responsibilities. With a career in an ever-changing industry, I’m constantly absorbing information and lack time – or will – to read national or international headlines. 

Insert theSkimm.

theSkimm is a daily email that brings you everything you could possibly need to survive a day as a human. No need to smile politely and nod while someone talks about a conflict in a country you’ve never heard of. 

More than that, to this girl still in her twenties, it's empowering knowing two girls in their twenties  one from Chicago and the other in New York —  who have a passion for news launched theSkimm on nothing more than guts and wine. 

This supports my golden rule: thou shall always keep wine on hand. 

Skimmers love Tim Riggins. As do I. 

Skimmers love Tim Riggins. As do I. 

Wine supports creativity!

Bottom line: theSkimm team reads everything they can get their hands on and breaks it down with fresh editorial content. Not only do they bring it to you, but they keep it like Switzerland.

If you’re down for witty, irreverent copy, you’re going to love this more than Ralphie could ever love that Red Ryder BB gun. 

Confession: If this was a pyramid scheme I’d be all over your Facebook timelines. “I’m placing an order at 5!!! GET YOUR ORDERS IN!” “Body by Vi/Scentsy/R+F/Wraps/theSkimm WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!”

It’s not a scheme. It’s just a daily email making you look smarter. 

Check out today's Skimm and see for yourself. (You should probably look at the birthday list.) 

Because of my love for theSkimm, I have been added to the elusive list of Skimm'bassadors. All this means is I've forwarded my emails on to so many people I've become an ambassador of sorts. It's like a club - with wine. A wine club! For those of you (if any) who happen to be in Austin, the ATX Skimmers are meeting up on Wednesday (Join the Facebook event). 

sign up for theskimm 

You can sign up for theSkimm here or take it for a test drive by following on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

this is not an ad.

TheSkimm did not pay for this post. However, if they’re interested in compensating me for this artistic, creative piece of content I will gladly accept payment in the form of Torchy’s Tacos. 

It's my birthday!

Three years ago I celebrated my 25th birthday in Vegas with two of the best humans on this earth.

It should be known Mary is expecting her first baby in February. 

It should be known Mary is expecting her first baby in February. 

Taken at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant.  Such babies, we were. 

Taken at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant.  Such babies, we were. 

As I rounded out 24, I found myself in a brand-new job I wasn’t allowed to discuss, my three-year relationship ended via phone call, my roommate moved back to Texas leaving me with an empty house, and I was about to be my dad’s age my when cancer put another notch in the W column.

Brutal.

Let me break that down.

I took a job with the yet-to-be-announced Chickasaw Country and couldn’t mutter a word of its existence. From August 2011 to March 2012, I was a travel writer for a region of Oklahoma that didn’t exist and a blog that didn’t have a URL. Weird.

My boyfriend of three years ended our relationship via phone days before he was to return from a lengthy out-of-state training. At my core I knew it wasn’t meant to be, but I had yet to feel that level of disappointment at that point in my life. He lacked respect for our friendship – and me – and for the first time in my life I felt sheer disappointment in another human being. Looking back it’s so obvious that moment rocked me to my core. A phone call? A phone call.

PSA to the fellas: ending a long-term relationship via phone call is never acceptable. Man up.

Moving on.

I gained an incredible roommate the summer of 2011. A quality human. Unfortunately, Oklahoma wasn’t her cup of tea and she quickly turned on her heels to journey back to Texas where the opportunities were bigger and the boys were a lot cuter. For six months I lived alone, and I’m forever grateful I can say that.

As all these things played out, I began losing a lot of sleep contemplating the reality of being older than my dad. He died at 25. In my mind he was this strong, loving and old person. Except, in reality he wasn’t. The latter, anyway. Turning 25 was so very strange for me. I can’t describe that, exactly, but trust me.

My plans didn’t seem to be coming together and I wasn’t trusting that my plans didn’t matter anyway. I wasn’t trusting God. He had always been with me, but, for some reason, I didn’t think I needed him as much as I once had.

(laughs)

a turning point

Out of nowhere, a lady I met through social media, who had evolved into a mentor and friend, gave me a call. (Hey Katie! Are you reading this?)

She had taken notice of my lack of social media activity and just knew “something wasn’t right.” Bless her. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but she said something like, “I was once 24 and heartbroken. It was rough. I did everything I could to stay busy, focused on my relationship with God and swore off relationships. You know what? I met my husband at 25 and haven’t looked back.”

If you know Katie, you’ll know it wasn’t that concise, but you get the gist of it.

I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, focused on my super-secret new job, joined a Life Group where I met one of my very best friends (Hi Courtney!) and booked a last-minute birthday trip to Las Vegas.

At that stage in my life that was the best time I’d ever had. I partied so hard. Vegas is magical, people. Just magical. (I’d elaborate, but you know the rules about Vegas.)

In January, Courtney, our friend Trevor and I started our very own Life Group, Chickasaw Country finally became tangible and my relationship with Christ became evident.

I had put so much stock in fear of letting go of my dad that once I was able to let him go, things just seemed different.  It was hard letting go of someone I really didn’t even know. Sheesh, that has to be hard for my family, you know? They know how much he loved me, yet I really didn’t get to know him at all.  

Three months after my 25th birthday I met Travis.

Oh.

That wasn’t my plan, but it was definitely Someone’s plan.

Oh, hey 26th birthday. 

Oh, hey 26th birthday. 

I spent my 27th birthday in Charlotte. PSA: if given the opportunity to dine at Beef 'n Bottle, always say yes. Birthday dinner was a complete success with steak and sparklers! 

I spent my 27th birthday in Charlotte. PSA: if given the opportunity to dine at Beef 'n Bottle, always say yes. Birthday dinner was a complete success with steak and sparklers! 

He proposed on my 26th birthday.

We can plan all day every day, but we’re not really living until we put our trust in Him.

five tips for work-related travel

Milwaukee: home of Laverne, Shirley and the Happy Days crew.

Milwaukee: home of Laverne, Shirley and the Happy Days crew.

I dabbled in work travel while at the Oklahoma Pork Council, moved into regional day trips at Chickasaw Country, buffered while serving a short sentence in North Carolina and I’m back on the grind at Charleston|Orwig

Travel so hard, er’rybody gonna fine me. 

Travis’ travel schedule is more demanding than mine; however, between the two of us our dog might feel slightly abandoned from time-to-time. 

While I’ve been living that agency life in the frigid countryside of Wisconsin, Travis has been rubbing elbows and makin’ that paper in New York. All the while, Molly has been throwing ragers in Austin’s south side. (The latter per updates from our dog sitter, naturally)

A job that affords the opportunities to travel is a job that makes my heart pitter-patter. I need to see new cities, explore new cultures and sip my way through a new downtown

Even so, I can find it difficult at times. I'm still green in this professional world, but these tips below are my baseline for keeping cool in the what can be hurricane of work travel.

Duration

If you’re able to negotiate your travel, find the happy medium with clients, work and life. For example, when I took a position with C|O, I knew I’d be traveling north at least once a month. As I’ve fallen into a rhythm, I make sure to book my return flight to Texas for Thursday evening. This allows me to spend one day in the Texas office and enjoy my weekend. 

Pack with a purpose

On Tuesday, I enjoyed a night on the town with Ann Horack and her husband, Justin. Lake Mills, Wi, population 5,708.

On Tuesday, I enjoyed a night on the town with Ann Horack and her husband, Justin. Lake Mills, Wi, population 5,708.

Hotels have paper-thin walls so a white-noise machine ensures I have a fighting chance at getting a few hours of sleep. Find what you need and give it a VIP spot in your luggage. 

Know your limits

It’s easy to treat work trips like vacation. They’re not. You’re getting paid to do quality work, so if you need to take a night to yourself to explore a new coffee shop or crawl into bed with take-out pizza  do it. Work affords your travel, so you better bring your A-game to client meetings.  

Protect your sanity

Before I venture north, I block at least 30 minutes a day in Outlook as “busy.” This saves me from back-to-back-to-back meetings or keeps me from falling behind when meetings run late. 

Plan ahead

Make lunch plans in advance. Schedules are often busy, but everyone makes time for food — or coffee. 

 

A Feed Store in Austin Proper

As a small-town girl, I never imagined living in a city with more than one zip code. I thought, for some reason, I was destined to live a small-town life tucked away in a rural community. I could do that, you know. Live big in a small town.

But, here I am living in Austin: population 885,400 and growing by 110 each day.  

I mentioned to co-workers how nice it would be nice if Austin had a feed store. You know, a local place where I could pick up washers or feed (for the cattle in the back 40, of course) or wander through the aisles like a local.

My mom's KitchenAid stand mixer came from a farm store in Lincoln County, Okla., and mine came from a department store. Hello, rural gone urban.

I long for small-town customs: shopping for décor at the pharmacy, eating at the pizza place located behind the antique store and grabbing the local fare (pizza pockets and/or chicken strips) while I fill up my gas-guzzling SUV. 

Once you have your go-to places in an urban jungle (hair salon, grocery store, pharmacy, go-to restaurant), life becomes more manageable. Almost small-town like.

Turns out, Austin has a general store located within city limits. (Psst. Thanks Garrett for bringing this to my attention.) 

I rolled up on Saturday and it was a thing, y'all. The parking lot was full but not too full and the front porch was lined with local vendors. Homemade doughnuts? Stop, Callahan's. Just stop. 

(left to right) The Piney Grove Ramblers: Don Clay, Gloria Brayshaw, Wayne Brooks and Jim Shaffer. 

(left to right) The Piney Grove Ramblers: Don Clay, Gloria Brayshaw, Wayne Brooks and Jim Shaffer. 

Greeted by a goat and the pickin' of an Appalachian-inspired local bluegrass band, it occurred to me how relatable so many experiences seem. Travel and home addresses in four states have not only given me a unique accent, but also a sweeping ability to make a multitude of moments feel like home. 

I mean, didn't we just leave the Appalachians? A central-Texas band pickin' at a general store is just about perfect. 

This store is a tad more commercial than my liking. It's clear they have been discovered by masses and made a few changes to elevate their product lines. Good for them. 

Along with gardening, livestock and general supplies I found Texas products. Swoon.

Jams, rubs, salsa, sauces....

And then I saw them.

The John Deere tractors - of the living room size. 

I carried a John Deere 1:16 S670 combine complete with a grain head around the store for more than 20 minutes. Why am I not an aunt? Why?

I already regret the decision to put it back.

I made it home with roasted red pepper salsa, muscadine grape jelly, a tea towel and a candle wicked in Fredericksburg, Texas. The latter, of course, merely served as a tourism liaison for its Hill Country homestead. A quick google search lead to adventure scouting, friends. 

Twenty-fifteen is promising Chickasaw Country type of explorations and I'm already wearing my party pants.


 

About callahan's general store

Callahan’s General Store opened in 1978. If the bustling Saturday morning crows is any indication it has become not only an Austin legend, but also a destination for many in central Texas. 

They're open from 8 - 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. If you're in town, stop by and say hello. You could tell them I sent you, but they'll have no idea what that means. 

501 Bastrop Highway
Austin, Texas 78741

Go local austin

I'm a supporter of shopping small. In a world of national chains and cross-country shipping, the benefits of shopping locally are undeniable. Go Local Austin (similar to Keep it Local OK for you Oklahomans) is a way for people spending money to support local businesses and the Austin community.

Each business has a different perk. For example: 10% discount at Alamo Drafthouse. I picked up my loyalty card at People's RX for $15 - I'm all about those breakfast tacos, man. It's proximately to my office is dangerous.

Fat guy in a little coat

I sang this movie quote no less than 18 times while writing this post. You know the one. Yeah, you do. The one where Chris Farley plays Thomas R. "Tommy" Callahan III. Tommy Boy is one of my all-time favorite movies.