Valentine’s Day Printables

If you’re like me and LOVE printables, you enjoy these Valentine’s Day themed ones! I have found over 40 printable valentines for kids and adults, whether you’re handing them out at school or your special someone. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • Download pdfs by clicking on printable’s images
  • Blog images go directly to the “printable”-related blog posts if you want to check out other printables the blogger shared
  • If it’s not a direct PDF it’s because there were multiple images to download

Don’t forget to check out my blog post on Kid’s Valentine’s Day Websites, Printables, and Crafts!

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Printable Valentine’s Day Jokes!

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Pencil Toppers!

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Bag Topper

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Cute Gift Labels “Open Me At”

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Download a zip file full of templates displayed below.

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And cute bag labels here.

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San Antonio Cocktail Conference

On Thursday, January 26 through Sunday, January 29, San Antonio’s beautiful Riverwalk will be the backdrop for the first ever San Antonio Cocktail Conference!

san antonio cocktail conference schedule buy tickets

Over the course of four days, local residents and visitors will have the opportunity to:

  • Partake in 27 classes
  • Meet with 31 different presenters
  • Attend 5 fabulous soirees (visit different cocktail tasting stations, enjoy Riverwalk boat shuttles from one venue to the next)
  • Enter in one Original Cocktail Competition
  • And say salutations during one Yoga for bartenders class

Stemming from Chef Mark Bohanan, the mastermind behind the critically acclaimed downtown steakhouse Bohanan’s, the San Antonio Cocktail Conference will feature educational seminars, classes, tastings, and more with experts travelling in from across the US and Australia!


Become a Fan:

Twitter: @SACocktailConf

BUY TICKETS! Schedule:

Tasting Schedule: (view the list, tastings are from 10:30am – 4:30pm on Friday and Saturday)

san antonio cocktail conference benefits Heartgift

Don’t feel like heading downtown for a cocktail party? Would you do it for a good cause? The San Antonio Cocktail Conference is benefiting
HeartGift, a group of medical professionals and volunteers who give their resources (surgical skills, home, hours) so that children can have access to lifesaving surgery to repair their congenital heart defects:

  • 93% of world’s population doesn’t have access to pediatric cardiac surgery
  • Surgeons and physicians donate their services, for treatments normally costing $165,000
  • Average total expense for each HeartGift patient (includes travel and medical care) is $24,000
  • $8.5 million worth of medical care donated to date
  • 130 children from 22 countries have benefitted from HeartGift services


Become a Fan:

Twitter: @HeartGiftNews

From an interview with Chef Mark Bohanan:

The Cocktail Conference is a four-day event that is modeled after the wildly successful Manhattan Cocktail Classic and New Orleans’ Tales of the Cocktail Event, both of which draw more than 20,000 people…

…Classes will include topics such as ice making, crafting perfect cocktails for home entertaining, an introduction to gin cocktails and many more…

…There will also be a contest with celebrity judges, tastings, seminars and other special events designed to combine cocktail culture education with good old-fashioned fun…

…I want people to come downtown and see why it is the pulse of San Antonio. I want to remind locals of what is available to them right in their own backyards, as well as show tourists why San Antonio is a major destination for both the leisure and business traveler.

D-Box Movie Seats at Santikos Theatres

On a day off, a friend and I went to the Santikos Palladium to watch the second Sherlock Holmes movie. While were debating which show to see, we noticed that “D-box” seats were available for purchase.

D-box movie review santikos theaters

Right now Santikos Theatres have D-box seats in three San Antonio locations and 1 Houston location:

silverado houston dbox
San Antonio Silverado – $17.50
11505 W Loop 1604 N, San Antonio, TX 78250
Map & Directions


silverado san antonio d-box
Houston Silverado 19 IMAX – $17.75
24720 State Hwy 249, Tomball, TX 77375
Map & Directions


palladium san antonio theater d-box
San Antonio Palladium IMAX – $18.00
17703 W IH-10, San Antonio, TX 78257
Map & Directions


Mayan theater san antonio d-box
San Antonio Mayan 14 – $16.00
1918 SW Military Dr., San Antonio, TX 78221
Map & Directions


You’ll know which movie has DBOX seating option in the showtimes section.

D-box movie review santikos theaters buy online

By clicking on the movie time (NOT movie name) you’ll be taken to another site to purchase the tickets online with a credit card.

D-box movie review santikos theaters best seats

During the online ticket checkout, we were able to select our own seats or best available.

D-box movie review santikos theaters

Selecting your own seats shows how many seats are still free and which ones are not.

FAVORITE SEATS: WE got F5 and F4 which had a bar in front of us to rest our feet on but did not obstruct the view in any way.

D-box movie review santikos theaters

*NOTE: If you do not purchase a ticket don’t think you can catch a free ride in an unoccupied seat. The seats that were not purchased before the movie sat as still as the old fashioned kind. No ticket, no ride!

Once we got to the Palladium we were able to swipe our card at the self-service kiosk (HINT!! There’s one inside the building by customer service that NEVER has a line…compared to the three outside the box office that are always 3 deep…each.)

D-box movie review santikos theaters

Then we made it to our seats after stopping for some light, yet incredibly expensive, concession stand snacks.

Actual Review and Thoughts

Once we got into the movie theater, we noticed right away how room and what a great view we had from our seats. In the first two rows of the elevated section, we found our seats and waited to have our worlds rocked. Reviews that I found said that even the previews came to life but none of the trailers we watched were synced with our chairs. A little bored and very curious we played with the buttons underneath the right side arm rest. I believe there were 4 or 5 levels of intensity that were customizable per chair. You even had the option to turn it completely off. Once the movie got going I didn’t remember to play with these.

Types of scenes that were animated:

  • Bumping along a road in a car
  • Scenic pans of train traveling scenes, as the camera rounded the bend, so did our chair, very subtly, probably the most welcome animation to me, my friend thought it was cheesy.
  • Explosion scenes – no surprises here, whenever something exploded on screen our chairs reiterated each crash and fire
  • Peering over something – there was a scene in Sherlock Holmes where we were leaned forward a bit in the chair

The chair completely movies, not just the back vibrating, physically moving. We were concerned about our drinks spilling around but it was never that drastic, especially after we had taken some quick gulps during the previews.

Would I do it again? Not for $18! BUT I have had other movie going friends who insist that it is the only way to experience a movie. I found it a little distracting, that instead of just getting caught up in the movie, I was paying attention to the movement of my chair. I think some movements were more subtle than others and I noticed it less…I would’ve preferred movie watching the old fashion way. That said…a scary movie would probably be 100 times more intense (to levels I’m not willing to experience.) I think anyone who considers them self a movie enthusiast should definitely give it a try.

During one review, a whopping 92% (or close to that number) of a test group surveyed responded favorably to the D-Box…so you don’t have to take my word for it.

D-box movie review santikos theaters

Additional review from the SA Current here.

Become a fan on Facebook and tweet your opinions to @dboxTech!

Pictures taken from the Santikos Palladium theatre in San Antonio, TX.

D-box movie review santikos theaters

D-box movie review santikos theaters

D-box movie review santikos theaters

So, a couple days before we saw this movie we saw this demo as we were leaving the movie theatre and I hurried us along, saying we didn’t need to sit in the seats. Had we, we would have experienced DBOX first hand without having to risk not liking the experience for an entire movie.

D-box movie review santikos theaters at palladium

15 Daily Deal Travel Sites

15 Daily Deal Travel Sites

Is your New Year’s resolution to see the world? Are you obsessed with daily deal sites? In no particular order are 15 daily deal travel websites! Many are invitation only…fear not, I have an invite for you! Click on the image or link in the “About” section. About half are dedicated to just traveling deals (including packages, hotels, airfare, etc.) while others are subsets of larger daily deal sites. Definitely keep an eye out on your favorites!

Best Travel Deal Websites

Sign up and become a member of the sites today! I bookmark them all and open all the sites in the same browser window at the same time. I can quickly scan each site’s page for the latest and great deals. Many sites offer significant savings and packages. Always look at the company’s website to make sure you’re getting the best deals possible!!

P.S. And once you know where you’re headed, sign up for all the local daily deals for that city so you can be armed with Groupons once you arrive at your final destination!

15 Daily Deal Travel Sites

P.P.S I have included the Twitter and Facebook pages…you’ll want to start following them to get additional deals and offers made only to those loyal fans!


Travel Deal Site About Twitter Facebook
Travel Deal websites - Amazon Local Subscribe for email alerts for the cities you’re travelling to! @amazonlocal Become a Fan
Travel Deal websites - Groupon Getaways From the people that brought you Groupon local deals, tons of great travel deals, some lasting 24 hours, some for a couple of days! @GrouponGetaways None
Travel Deal websites - Living Social Escapes Living Social Escapes @LivingSocialESC Become a Fan
Travel Deal websites - Eversave Travel Saves Division of the Eversave deal site offering travel and getaway deals! Click on the “Travel Saves” link. @TravelSaves Become a Fan
Travel Deal websites - KGB Deals Click on the “Destinations” tab for additional travel deals! @kgbdeals_usa Become a Fan
Travel Deal websites - Urban Delight In addition to local daily deals, Urban Dealight also offers “Departures” for travel deals! @urbandealight Become a Fan
Travel Deal websites - Jetsetter Check out Jet Setter and check out their flash sales for your dream destination! @jetsetterdotcom Become a Fan
Travel Deal websites - Haute Look Getaways In addition to all the sales at Haute Look, click on the Getaways tab for fabulous vacations! @hautelook Become a Fan
Travel Deal websites - Rue La La Rue La La also offers “Travel” offers, destination packages, and hotel deals! @RueLaLa Become a Fan
Travel Deal websites - Snique Away Another private sale site dedicated to travel deals, Snique Away rocks (and looks great too!) @sniqueAway Become a Fan
Travel Deal websites - Tablet Hotels Another private sale site, use this link to sign up for fabulous travel experiences. @tabletHotels Become a Fan
Travel Deal websites - Trip Alertz Trip Alertz offers beautiful destination packages! Sign up and find your dream vacay! @tripAlertz Become a Fan
Travel Deal websites - Vacationist Vacationist is a partnership if Luxury Link and Travel & Leisure to offer deeply discount trips people actually want to take! @goVacationist Become a Fan
Travel Deal websites - Voyage Prive Voyage Prive is another private membership site that you can sign up for with the link! @VoyagePriveUS Become a Fan
Travel Deal websites - Ideeli Ideeli has their own Travel section where you can check out some more great deals! @ideeli Become a Fan


Top 10 Black Friday Shopping Tips | Chevy Haul

For an entire week, I had the luxury of driving around a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox, courtesy of Chevrolet’s Driving in the Heartland team, dedicated to the heartland of America! You can check out their website or follow their tweets, @ChevyTexan, for their latest adventures, offers, fantastic finds, and more.

As a savvy deal finder, I definitely wanted Chevrolet to get their money’s worth, I tweeted #chevyhaul like crazy and during Black Friday I managed to make it to 20 different stores, starting at midnight with my friend and fellow blogger Gita of the uber-fashion blog, Mimi and Chichi.

Top 10 Black Friday Shopping Tips

In preparation of Black Friday 2012, here are 10 things that every savvy Chevy Haul shopper should know:

1 – Do the math! It is very easy to think you’re getting a good deal on Black Friday. You wait the entire year for sales like these. The only day of the year Apple deems worthy of offering a discount…but to feel good at the end of the day, make sure you’re getting a good deal on quality items!

2011 Black Friday deals | Chevrolet Equinox

Walmart was offering an Emerson 32? 720p LCD TV for $188 but who could beat the quality and discounts offered by Best Buy’s Sharp 42” 1080p LCD HDTV for ONLY $199.99. Plus, with the Walmart horror stories on the news and talking with other shoppers in line, I doubt I’ll ever  visit Wallyworld on Black Friday.

2 – Map it out! With many stores opening at midnight (and some even opening on Thanksgiving day — too early if you ask me…) you’ll not only want to make sure you understand where you’re headed but WHEN you need to head there. Before I hit the road in my Chevy Equinox, I made a list of all the stores that opened early, in the order they opened here. There tends to be a gap between the stores that opened at midnight, and the next round that opens at 4-5am…this will keep you busy.

*Another thing to consider, visit stores more out of the way. Although the drive might be longer, the wait will be shorter and more variety will be left untangled. Especially for high demand items, go the extra 20 miles to a remote location that you know won’t be as hectic!

**Many stores open earlier but end the incredible sales before 11am or noon. Get there early if you want to get the best deals!

Click on the Foursquare image below to see the stores that I stopped at and the deals at the time.

2012 Chevrolet Equinox |  Black Friday Shopping

3 – Bring a snack! If you’re always snacking like my friend Gita and I you’ll want to bring some holiday leftovers (brusselsprouts and cookies) as well as some water and energy drinks. At every store we visited, people were complaining of hunger pains, impatiently waiting for the food courts and other restaurants to open. Crabby people make impatient shoppers who are more willing to just buy things they don’t want. Give your wallet a fair chance.

2011 Black Friday deals | Chevrolet Equinox

4 – Leave the kids at home! We were waiting in line at Old Navy, for 30 minutes outside (so many people showed up for the free digital camera, fire hazards limited the number of shoppers allowed in at one time…) and it was fairly cold for us Texans. In front and behind us were were sobbing toddlers, begging to go home. Finally, seconds before being let into the store, the mothers staggered off with their children. MAKE CHILDCARE ARRANGEMENTS! There are a lot of children friendly daycares, gyms, and play places that offer moms and dads Black Friday shopping drop offs, starting early in the morning until the afternoon.

*With the new midnight shopping time, I also noticed a LOT of tweens running loose at the mall. Apparently their parents dropped them off with friends, while waiting for their stores to open, you could see some inappropriate makeout sessions going on. PARENTS – shopping is not the only thing that goes on at the maul…I mean mall.

5 – Go big or go home! Some of the best deals that I saw being offered were in department stores! For all your houseware needs, Macy’s and Sear’s were the way to go!

  • KitchenAid Pro 500 Series Mixer for $199.99 at Sears
  • Macy’s offered 20% off additional Black Friday sale prices! Gita got amazing sheets, retailed at $600 for less than $250!

2011 Black Friday deals | Chevrolet Equinox

6 – Fight the Crowds! With the explosion of online Black Friday sales, who in their right mind would consider fighting the crowds when all of your shopping can be done from the comfort of your own home? I’ll give you one reason why. Every year, without fail, there are significant online outages or slowdowns because of the crazy amounts of traffic generated from the 20 million other people who want to shop from the comfort of their own homes.

I remember one year I spent 3 hours painfully fighting Kohls website, adding things to the shopping cart, trying to checkout with them, being told they were sold out or having my cart emptied prematurely. In 2.5 hours I probably could have fought the masses, tried on clothes, AND checked out! Never again!

7 – Keep it social! Above was a list of all my foursqaure check ins. Make sure you take advantage of all the social and in-store promotions being offered! Many Foursquare venues offered additional discounts to shoppers. At Old Navy, Gita won an additional coupon for being the first to bring up a nail file during a contest. Many retailers on Twitter offered their followers Twitter only coupons AND additional #hashtag contests. With everyone else busy shopping, the chances of your winning is increased greatly!

8 – Chevy-sized vehicle for haul! This year I was blessed to have a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox to haul around all our deals! Buy a new car, borrow a friends, clean out your trunk before hitting the road!

Our Equinox offered:

  • great gas mileage so we could go the distance
  • plenty of storage space for our shopping haul
  • comfy seats when we needed to give our feet a rest
  • hiding places so we didn’t get mugged (always be wary of your surroundings, don’t be sitting ducks…)

2011 Black Friday deals | Chevrolet Equinox

9 – Additional tips and tricks! Here are some more helpful tips and tricks for making the most out of Black Friday:

  • Sign up for email alerts from your favorite stores ahead of time
  • Buy the newspaper on Thanksgiving for printed coupons and tons of store ads (nice consolidated view for the last minute shopper)
  • Download a Black Friday mobile app like BF Ads that gets updated with new ads all the time, is easy to use, and works without an internet connection (mall 3g can be shady)
  • Shop the off hours! Old Navy was CRAZY and had a long line at midnight, but everywhere else we visited between 2am to 7am had virtually no lines! Traffic starts to pick back up around 7am…
  • Make sure you get a place in line. If you’re battling it out for the best Best Buy offer, get there early and get the ticket. Ask for one. You need proof you were there at 24 hours before midnight and not some random person who waltzed up when the clock struck 12.
10 – Shop with a buddy! Bring a willing and able friend (one who won’t make you feel rushed) to:
  • Stand in line while your searching for clothes
  • Run to the car to get coupons or snacks while you’re waiting to check out
  • Give you a second opinion on impulsive purchases
  • Let you borrow your phone if yours starts to die
  • Think of stores you might not have gone to
  • Keep you safe in numbers!
+1 more – BEST tip of all! I almost didn’t want to share this secret. I’m afraid that once it gets out EVERYONE will take advantage of it. But because I love my readers so much, I will share the best Black Friday shopping tip in the entire world:
This year, on the Wednesday BEFORE Black Friday, at my leisure, I went to several retailers and tried on the clothes that I wanted to buy on Black Friday. Waiting to try on clothes during Black Friday, especially at busy stores like Old Navy, Kohl’s, etc. is adding an additional hour to each store, at least. I tried on all the close that I liked, at my leisure, without them being picked over…and then I *gasp* placed them on layaway. On Black Friday, I waltzed into the store, headed straight to the counter, asked for my clothes, and walked out in about 15 minutes (the time it took to wait in the long line.) I received glares from other shoppers and looks of envy from others.
*There are some risks. Only one store that I went to had better deals the Wednesday before than the Friday of, but it did happen. Also, the people can always accidentally put the clothes back on the shelves (happened once on a non-Black Friday shopping trip…)

Driving in the Heartland invited me to:

So, what better way to ease some of that holiday shopping stress than by taking a brand new Chevy for a spin to get all of your shopping done in comfort and style? This year, Chevrolet will be giving five fabulous bloggers a Chevy vehicle to drive while they take on their holiday shopping throughout the Heartland. Three bloggers from Texas and two bloggers from St. Louis, Missouri, will be riding comfortably in Chevy cars and crossovers in the next few weeks, and you can follow along as they navigate the madness on Twitter using the hashtag #ChevyHaul.

Check out all the details here.

2011 Frost | Westin La Cantera

For people living in Sam Antonio or just visiting, the winter holidays are one of the best times of years. One family tradition we have enjoyed for the past two years is provided by the Westin La Cantera. This luxurious resort paints a beautifully festive backdrop to kick off the yuletide season with plenty for families, couples, and friends to do.

During a complimentary “mommy bloggers” preview, my daughter and I, her best friend’s family, and a couple other families were able to see firsthand all the excitement and Christmas spirit the Westin is returning to the Hill Country.

When: Nov. 18th through Jan. 8

Where: Westin La Cantera | 16641 La Cantera Parkway, San Antonio, TX 78256

Phone: (210) 558-6500


The fun kicks off with Frost – imagine be able to skate outside on a 1,200-square-foot synthetic outdoor iceless skating rink, whether it’s in the 20s or 80s!

This activity is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Cost is $10 for 45 minutes of skating and skate rental.

*A portion of the proceeds will go to the George Gervin Youth Center, Inc.

**Guests who skate will instantly be included in a prize drawing. The grand prize includes: a 2-night stay, daily breakfast for two at Brannon’s Café and a personalized memento from Spurs legend George “Iceman” Gervin

Santa’s Workshop

When: Dec. 13 to Dec. 24

Drop by Santa’s Workshop where guests or locals can take a photo with Santa, make a holiday toy or decorate cookies with the elves.   A portion of the proceeds will go to a local charity.

Legendary Holidays

When: Dec. 13 to Dec. 24

The resort’s 13th annual Legendary Holidays program is sure to dazzle kids of every age. This one-hour resort tradition takes place daily at 5 p.m. Guests are guided around the property by the popular storyteller, Bandera Cowboy ‘Makin’ Dust’, who sings and tells holiday stories.


The program concludes with ‘snow’ magically falling from the sky as the choir begins to sing a holiday song at the top of Plaza San Saba.

Holiday Menu and Cocktails

Celebrate the season with culinary delights, including a special Thanksgiving Day Brunch as well as delectable Christmas and New Year’s Eve menu selections.


The Magik Theatre

San Antonio’s local children theater presents a holiday comedy “The Pirate’s Holiday”!

Cost is $5.00 for adults; children under 3 are free.

Shows start at 7:30 p.m. The kids (ages from 3-8) and the adults (slightly older) in our group all laughed throughout the show, everyone having a TON of fun!

  • December: 12/3, 12/10, 12/16, 12/17, 12/19 through 12/23
  • December: Special show times on 12/17 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Arrive 30 minutes early, seating is limited.
  • The show is 45 minutes long.

Below are some more pictures from our visit!

Eversave San Antonio

Does anyone here like to win free stuff?! (I know I do!!)

Thanks to Eversave San Antonio, one of my fabulous readers is going to walk away with a gift certificate to Dallia’s Hair and Nail Studio ($55 value!!)

Multiple Ways to Enter and Win:

  • Simply leave a comment at the end of this blog post on which local San Antonio restaurant or retailer you’d like to see featured on Eversave next!
  • Tweet:  I want to win an @EversaveSAT deal on! Pls RT! #gbcontest
  • Follow me on Twitter:
  • Become a Fan on Facebook:
  • Tag “Geekette Bits” in a wall post on Facebook with a link to this blog post!

Eversave San Antonio

** All winners must have already signed up for Eversave San Antonio! **

Did you know?? Eversave San Antonio:

  • Local deals offered DAILY! National deals offered as well!
  • Get $2 off coupon just for signing up today!
  • Convince you’re friends to sign up too, you’ll get $10 for EACH friend as soon as they make their first Eversave purchase!

Eversave San Antonio | Dallia's Hair and Nail Studio


Become a fan on Facebook:

Eversave San Antonio Facebook

Follow their tweets, @EversaveSAT:

Eversave San Antonio Twitter

The winner will be selected randomly on Tuesday, November 22! Check back to see if you won!

2011 Black Friday Store Hours

Don’t forget to check out my 2009 Black Friday post and my 2010 Black Friday posts for my past Black Friday shopping plans and favorite websites. I read through them and both still absolutely apply!

Based on the stores listed by Black Friday 2011, I sorted the stores by open hours (a LOT of stores are opening their doors at midnight this year!!) so that you can strategically forgo sleep and pace yourself like I plan to from midnight to 10am (at which point the major deals are mostly over…)

After spending one year fighting Kohl’s website outages (let’s performance test people!!) I have been paranoid about doing all my shopping online. Where do you plan on shopping?  The list of over 40 stores below link to their Black Friday newspaper ad.

*I’ll update this list the week of Black Friday with more stores and store hours!

2011 Black Friday Store Hours



iPhone App:


Black Friday Store Ad
Black Friday Hours
Bealls 12am
Best Buy 12am
GameStop 12am
Little Tikes 12am
Macy’s 12am
Old Navy 12am
Shopko 12am
Walmart 12am
Toys R Us (Holiday Express) 12am-10pm most stores
Target 12am-11pm
Kohl’s 12am-12am (open 24 hrs)
Sears 4am-1pm
Avenue 5am
Fred’s Super Dollar 5am
Gordman’s 5am
Lowe’s 5am
Michael’s 5am
Sam’s Club 5am
A.C. Moore 5am-10pm
Babies R Us 5am-10pm
Electronics Expo 5am-10pm
Burlington Coat Factory 5am-11pm
Radio Shack 6:30am
Five Below 6am
Jo-Ann 6am
Office Max 6am
Tractor Supply Company 6am
Gander Mountain 6am-10pm
Fashion Bug 8am-9pm
Walgreens 9am-6pm
La-Z-Boy 9am-9pm
Bon-Ton Sale hours: 12am-1pm
JC Penney Sale Hours: 4am-1pm
Kmart Sale hours: 5am-11am
Sports Authority Sale Hours: 5am-3pm
Menards Sale hours: 6am-11am
Cabela’s Sale: 5am-10am
Dick’s Sporting Goods Sale: 5am-2pm
Bass Pro Shops Sale: 6am-11am


Greater Austin | Bastrop Fire Relief, Donations

Please consider going through the list below to see how you can donate to help the victims of the massive fires sweeping across Central Texas right now. Already tens of thousands of acres of land with people’s home and personal belongings have felt the wrath of this natural disaster. Although there is so much tragedy engulfing the area right now, neighbors, Texans, and people across the US are banding together in support of the cities. Below are links to the local Red Cross chapters, churches, food banks, shelters, and even baseball teams looking for donations of food, clothing, personal items, and money to help continue to fight the fires and the devastation left in its wake.

Picture courtesy of


Check out information from the local emergency response government sites about the fires, shelters, and more detailed information here:

Red Cross of Central Texas - Greater Austin | Bastrop Fire Relief, Donations for Central Texas Fire


Local news channels and radios provide more links and donation facilities here:

 KLBJ Radio 99.7 FM Lots of detailed information and links, frequently updated.
 KGSR Austin When: All day Wednesday, 6am-7pmWhere: Rudy’s @ 2400 North IH-35, Round Rock (I-35 and between 1431 and 620) 

Taking donations for fire relief.

 All day Wednesday, 6am-7pm, KGSR will be at Rudy’s @ 2400 North IH-35, Round Rock (I-35 and between 1431 and 620) taking donations for fire relief.
 KLBJ 93.7 When: Wednesday, September 07, 2011 – 6am-7pmWhere: 11570 Research Boulevard 

KLBJ-FM will be at Rudy’s @ 11570 Research Boulevard, Austin (183 and Duval) taking donations.

ABC KVUE Lots of detailed information and links, frequently updated.



Donation stations accepting food and/or clothing and other supplies this week:

Capital Area Food Bank of Texas - Greater Austin | Bastrop Fire Relief, Donations for Central Texas FireRound rock Express - Greater Austin | Bastrop Fire Relief, Donations for Central Texas Fire

Organization Address Phone Number Details
Spicewood TX Spicewood Community Center
7901 CR 404
Spicewood, TX 78669
The Legacy Fund has been established by the Lions Club and are accepting donations and asking for assistance at the location listed.
Saint William Catholic Parish St. William Catholic Church (map)
620 Round Rock West Dr
Round Rock, TX 78681
Donations will be accepted at St. William Catholic Church in the church Pavilion, starting September 6, between 7:30am – 9pm.
Hill Country Bible Church 12124 RR 620 North
Austin, TX 78750
512-589-7675 (for prayers or help) We will continue to need donations of the following items which may be brought by the church between 8am and 8pm
Catpial Area Food Bank of Texas 1201 Pine Street
Bastrop, TX 78602
512-303-0033 Bastrop Emergency Food Pantry is receiving food donations and is open 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. for donations the rest of the week.*Looking for non-perishable items listed on site. Also have a list of shelters here.
Capital Area Food Bank 8201 S. Congress Avenue
Austin , TX 78745
8-5 p.m. or leave in boxes on dock outside of those hours
Caring Place 2000 Railroad St.
Georgetown, TX 78627
512-869-4735 Looking for non-perishable donations.
 Round Rock Serving Center 1099 East Main St.
Round Rock, TX 78664
512-244-2431 Looking for non-perishable donations.
Old Wind’s/Dollar General Store 210 Main St, Smithville, TX Clothing Donations
Zion Church 151 Shiloh Road
Bastrop TX
512-308-9344 Clothing Donations
St. Vincent de Paul South Congress Store South Congress Ave
Austin, TX
512 442-5652 Clothing Donations
St. Vincent de Paul Yager Collection Center 18 West Yager Ln
Austin, TX
(512) 238-6737 Clothing Donations
Red Cross of Central Texas
Diocese of Austin 1817 E. Sixth StreetAustin, TX 78702  (512) 651-6102 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Catholic Charities of Central Texas in AustinMake donations online here.
 The Independent 14251 W. SH 29, Suite BLiberty Hill, TX (512) 778-5577 Food, water, personal hygiene and household items will be accepted from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Round Rock Express 3400 East Palm ValleyRound Rock, Texas 78665 512.238.2217 Beginning Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., The Dell Diamond, home of the Express, will become a central drop-off point for household items and clothing intended for victims of the fires.All items can be dropped off at The Railyard, the official team store of the Express, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. weekdays and during upcoming playoff games.
Palm Valley Lutheran Church Round Rock 2500 East Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78665 512-423-4862  There is a big need for diapers, wipes, baby food, nonperishable food items, trash cans, trash bags, underwear and socks, water, toiletries and kennels for dogs and cats.
 Austin Disaster Relief Network Fellowship SW Church in Buda (3870 FM 967, Buda)T-F from 9-5PMAustin Christian Fellowship

(6401 Riverplace Drive, Austin) M-F, 10AM-8PM


Church of the Resurrection (2008 Justin Lane, Austin)

M-F, 9AM-6PM

Celebration Church

(1202 Rabbit Hill Trail, Georgetown)

M-F, 9AM-5PM


Hill Country Bible Church

(Office – 12124 RR 620, Austin, Tx 78750)

M-F, 9AM-5PM

Volunteer Hotline: 512-331-2200  Diapers, Baby Food, Adult Food (non-perishable), Trash Cans, Trash Bags, Underwear, Kennels for Dogs, Socks, and Water
 OASIS on Travis Lake 6550 Comanche TrailAustin, TX 78732 512.266.2442  The OASIS on Lake Travis will be a drop site for Steiner Ranch evacuees. Austin Christian Fellowship is asking for bottled water, flashlights with batteries, tolietries (toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving products, shampoo, etc.), heavy trash bags, and work gloves.
Austin Christian Fellowship*More detailed information on their Facebook page here. 6401 River Place BoulevardAustin, TX 78730-1112 (512) 381-5700 We are open WEDNESDAY MORNING AT 6AM to take donations.ONLY THE FOLLOWING ITEMS ARE NEEDED: 

::Please no clothing or toys at this time::


  • disposable breathing masks
  • cleaning supplies (Lysol or Clorox wipes preferred)
  • flashlights and batteries
  • heavy trash bags
  • heavy work gloves
The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection 2008 Justin LaneAustin, TX 512-459-0027 The Thrift Shop at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection is accepting donations of clothing, housewares, and toiletries for victims of the Austin-area wildfires.Between 9am and 6 pm someone will be here to receive donations personally. 

After hours use the drop box at the back end of our parking lot at 2008 Justin Lane, or leave donations at the front door of either the Thrift Shop building or the Parish Hall building.

Austin Disaster Relief - Greater Austin | Bastrop Fire Relief, Donations for Central Texas Fire

UPDATED (9/14/2011):  Blankets for Bastrop is recruiting crafty people to make blankets for the families once they relocate or get back into their homes:

And learn about how you can donate supplies or precious quilts to keep them warm in the winter and bring love into their new surroundings.

Francesca’s at Sunset | Westin La Cantera

One of my favorite recent experiences (complimentary, courtesy of the Westin La Cantera) received from our staycation at the Westin La Cantera (more posts to come!!!) was the two intimate hours spent in the kitchen of Francesca’s at Sunset with executive chef John Armstrong and chef de cuisine Ernie Estrada. This restaurant is opened daily from 6pm to 10pm and offers “South Texas cuisine with a Southwestern flair”. The chefs pride themselves on their menu items almost all containing “Farm to Table” ingredients provided by local Central and South Texas farmers and ranchers.

This fabulously romantic restaurant has so much heart behind it in the kitchen. You would not believe how welcomed and gracious Chef Armstrong and Chef Estrada were to our small group. We bombarded them with every question we could come up with and they answered them all in strides and smiles, welcoming us to ask more by emailing them anytime (like other frequent patrons already do!) Everything we ate that afternoon tasted as good as it looked and will definitely remain a top 10 memory in my mind. The chefs offer frequent opportunities to meet with them on a more personal level at the restaurant and we all felt truly welcomed into their world.

Francesca's at Sunset on Urbanspoon

*Brunch menu found here (served Sundays from 10:30am-2pm)!

How Francesca’s got her name?

This restaurant has an equally passionate story behind its namesake. There’s a Wild West legend that involves a young man named Ferenor who was preparing to enter into priesthood by taking his final vows when he met and fell in love with a beautiful girl named Francesca’s, who returned his love. Dismissed by the leaders in the church, they ran away together, unfortunately straying from the path and becoming lost. Leaving Francesca to find help from a light in the short distance, Ferenor never found the light or help that eventually diminished. In his hast to return to Francesca, Ferenor lost consciousness when he struck his head on a rock after stumbling in the darkness. Regaining consciousness the next morning, he found the village searching for himself and Francesca. Setting out in search of Francesca again, neither Ferenor nor Francesca was ever found again.

Luckily our love affair with Francesca’s kitchen was more lucky and we started with Peach cider with grill roasted peaches, pecan oil, and a micro arugula salad:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - local cooking ingredients

Chef Armstrong patiently explained how to prepare everything:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - san antonio brunch

Including the rub he quickly made:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - servers brunch in san antonio

With the paprika he brought from his home kitchen since they didn’t have any at the restaurant that day:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - local cooking ingredients

To how to sear the peaches:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - romantic dining

He also explained that micro arugala was just arugula that was harvested when it was in it’s infant stages of growth:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - romantic dining

Plating the beautiful salad with a sample of locally made peach cidar.

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - romantic dining

And happily marched to one of Francesca’s long-time favorite staple menu items: Francesca’s Guajillo Chile Rubbed Filet of Beef

We did a sniff taste in the kitchen to figure out the ingredients below (that included chipotle chiles, corriander, carmelized onions, cipotle, burgundy, and roasted tomato):

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - romantic dining

The locally grown and butchered filet mignons:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - San Antonio restaurant

Rubbed down with a few different spices:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - San Antonio romantic restaurant

And enhanced after being grilled with a veal reduction (that was homemade and reduced for over 18 hours!!!)

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - San Antonio restaurant

Topped with a fabulous southwestern queso fresco and micro cilanotro.

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - Chef John Armstrong

Perfection on a platter.

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - Chef Ernie Estrada

Brioche French Toast stuffed with blueberries and bananas with pecan maple syrup:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - Family Restaurant

Homemade brioche bread (which I enthusiastically believe makes for the BEST French toast ever!!)

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - San Antonio vacation

The chef sliced bananas and combined with fresh blueberries in a bowl, mashing them together:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - romantic San Antonio restaurant

Which would be stuffed into the bread later:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - San Antonio dining

We got to use tasting spoons to sample the batter that included a tasty standard recipe kicked up a notch with heavy cream, egg, sugar, Tahitian vanilla bean, and rum:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - San Antonio restaurant

The maple syrup also included pecans and bananas:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - San Antonio restaurant

The bread was sliced thickly so that the chef could slice in half and then stuff the seasonal fruit in:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - hill country restaurant

Pressed down and sealed in once stuffed:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - San Antonio resort restaurant

And then submerged in the batter for several minutes:

Francesca’s | Westin La Cantera - San Antonio tourist restaurant

Cooked on a hot skillet:

Francesca’s restaurant | Westin La Cantera

And toasted to perfection:

Francesca’s restaurant | Westin La Cantera

Drizzle and server…voila!!

Francesca’s restaurant | Westin La Cantera

2012 London Summer Olympics

During the 2010 Winter Olympics I enjoyed writing (one on the 2010 Winter Olympics and one on 2010 Olympics resources for parents, teachers, and kids). With the one year Open Weekend countdown starting in London this weekend, July 22-24, 2011, I thought this was the perfect time to start blogging for the summer Olympics!

When: July 27 through August 12 | 2012

Find out more about London 2012

Following the Torch

2012 London Summer Olympics - Olympic torchOn May 18, 2012, the Olympic Torch will start the 70 day journey from Greece to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. During the trip, it will be handed off by 8,000 different people, each with their own inspirational story!

  • Review each hand off location of the journey here
  • December 2011, the Olympic Torchbearers committee will let the nominees if they’ve been selected as one of the 8,000
  • Learn about the winning 2012 torch design here (designed by east Londoners Edward Barber and Jay Osgerb who won the design contest)
  • FAQs here


Olympic Social Media Stars

Olympic Social Media Stars



2012 London Summer Olympics - official Twitter and Facebook accounts

London 2012 Olympics


Become a Fan

2012 London Summer Olympics - 2012 London Festival

London 2012 Festival

The world’s leading artists in the UK’s biggest ever festival


Become a Fan

2012 London Summer Olympics - Mascots: Wenlock


Official mascot of the London 2012 Olympic Games


Become a Fan

2012 London Summer Olympics - Mascots: Mandeville


Official mascot of the London 2012 Paralympic Olympic Games


Become a Fan

2012 London Summer Olympics - Official Twitter and Facebook accounts of Olympic Committee


Official account of the Olympic committee.


Become a Fan

2012 London Summer Olympics - Seb Coe Twitter

Seb Coe

Chair of the London 2012 Organizing Committee and Olympic gold medalist.


See how he convinced the Olympic selection committee to choose London for the 2012 Summer Olympics here! Decision awarded July 6, 2005!

2012 London Summer Olympics -  Olympic Torch

London 2012 Torch Relay

8,000 inspirational people across the UK will be chosen to carry the Olympic Flame during the Torch Relay.

Email Updates

Become a Fan

2012 London Summer Olympics - Volunteer information: game makers

London 2012 Games Maker

Learn how to become one of the 70,000 volunteers and help make the games happen!

The journey to becoming a London 2012 Games Maker is a long one, so please be patient. Log in to the Games Maker zone regularly for news and updates to the status of your application, and get to know the thousands of other London 2012 Games Maker fans here on Facebook along the way.

Become a Fan

Olympic Park

Since winning the bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics, a previously lower end, industrial and contaminated section of London has been transformed into the perfect athletic setting for the summer games. Below are some pictures courtesy of the London Olympics press:

2012 London Summer Olympics - Olympic Park

Designs showing how the Olympic Village will look when complete. The Athletes’ Village will accommodate athletes during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

2012 London Summer Olympics - Athletes Village

An artist’s impression of how the Aquatics Centre will look inside during the Games.

2012 London Summer Olympics - Aquatics Center

A CGI rendering of the 80,000 seat Olympic stadium is unveiled, on November 7, 2007 in London, England.  Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell noted the focus of the project is based around legacy for the area, which is currently one of the poorest in London.

2012 London Summer Olympics - Olympics Map

Summer Games Feature 26 Sports

The London 2012 Olympic Games will feature 26 sports.

Sporting Events Schedule:

2012 London Summer Olympics - diving 2012 London Summer Olympics - soccer 2012 London Summer Olympics - gymnastics 2012 London Summer Olympics - triathlon 2012 London Summer Olympics - equestrian

20Nine San Antonio, TX

Apparently there is a Highway 29 that converge somewhere in California’s wine country which inspired this Quarry restaurant’s name.






20nine Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


Happy Hour Deals:

When: Monday-Friday, 3:30-730pm

What: 25% off all wines, appetizers, & pizzas


We enjoyed an intimate dinner with two other wonderful couples who only helped enhanced a great atmosphere. We were able to walk in without reservations on a Saturday evening, slightly before 8pm but it quickly got packed.


Everything was fabulous and you definitely want to save room for dessert. The Panna Cotta was incredibly refreshing. I would go back simply for it. All of the appetizers and entrees were delicious. I had the duck served two ways and was left incredibly satisfied.


Hurry in! Definitely a wonderful place for a date night, celebration, or place to avoid rush hour traffic if you’re passing by the Quarry.

The Grill at Leon Springs | Boerne Stage Road

As a big believer in comfort food, I highly recommend enjoying a wonderful meal and great atmosphere found at The Grill at Leon Springs, right off I-10 and Boerne Stage Road (if you walk into a Rudy’s BBQ you’ve gone too far…)


I have been coming to this restaurant for a long time so I was surprised that I had not blogged about it. The first time I ate there I had incredible oysters and grilled lamb chops. Another time I came for their Sunday brunch and enjoyed a wonderfully European-inspired menu of assorted breakfast, lunch, and dinner choices. The ambiance and decorations are intimate, modern, but comfortable. Little Christmas lights set a very romantic mood and private rooms are available for special celebrations. We brought in the new year one time with a group of 8 friends at the Grill so keep it in mind for special holidays as well!


I actually celebrated my high school graduation and several birthdays at the owners’ (Thierry Burkle with Armand Obadia) original restaurant, L’Etoile (now closed but was located off Broadway) and loved it as well.


Grill at Leon Springs on Urbanspoon


Make sure you take advantage of their specials:


The Grill at Leon Springs | Boerne Stage Road

The Grill at Leon Springs | Boerne Stage Road

The Grill at Leon Springs | Boerne Stage Road

The Grill at Leon Springs | Boerne Stage Road

The Grill at Leon Springs | Boerne Stage Road

The Grill at Leon Springs | Boerne Stage Road

The Grill at Leon Springs | Boerne Stage Road

2011 Lemonade Day San Antonio

Last year was the first time San Antonio, TX participated in Lemonade Day. While their goal was 1,500 kids participating, San Antonio had 3,300 participants, the most every for an inaugural city! In 2011, their goal is 7,500!  On May 1, 2011, any kid (or young at heart) is encouraged to not only open a lemonade stand but pick up the FREE backpack ahead of time.  It includes information for kids and parents about planning and becoming a young entrepreneur.


The City of San Antonio passed a health ordinance on March 3rd waiving the temporary food establishment permit requirement for children and youth participating on May 1st!


2011 lemonade day san antonio




2010 Lemonade Day in San Antonio

  • Last year the average stand was open for 4 hours and 51 minutes. In that time the average profit was $73.00
  • In 2010 over 70% of profits were donated to charity
  • Last year’s most successful stand in San Antonio made over $600!





Online Resources:

  • Facebook app and more games here
  • Teacher Guides here
  • Compete for prizes this year!


2010 Lemonade Stand Map | San Antonio, TX



Backpack Pickup Locations

Register online or pick up your FREE 2011 Lemonade Day backpack full of educational information and coupons for kids and parents! Different bags for different age groups, pick up at any of the following events:


  • San Antonio Library at any time starting April 4th, Library locations click here.





Fiesta de los Niños 

2011 lemonade day san antonio fiesta de lose ninos

Parade at noon

Featuring middle school bands, elementary school students, Port San Antonio employees, SAFD fire truck, & lots more.


Rides, games, food, entertainment and lots of fun!!!!

200 Donald Goodrich Rd 

San Antonio, TX | Map

Saturday, April 9, 


KidsDay in the Park 

2011 lemonade day san antonio | kids day in the park

Free event for parents and children age 10 and under

San Pedro Springs Park | Map Saturday, April 9, 2011 

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Kids’ Kingdom @ King William’s Fair 


2011 lemonade day san antonio | king williams fair


Kids’ Kingdom is the child centered park area in the King William Fair, features “kid” friendly attractions with games and carnival attractions. Activities include free arts and crafts by Mission Trail and other community groups

1032 S. Alamo Street San Antonio, TX 78210 | Map Saturday, April 16, 

10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

3rd Annual San Antonio Youth Summit 


2011 lemonade day san antonio | San Antonio Youth Summit

Small group sessions on important social issues in San Antonio with panel discussions with community leaders on how to build for a better future.


Motivational speakers and workshops on preparing for the future

200 E Market St 

San Antonio, Texas 78205 | Map

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 8am-4pm
Valero Go! Challenge

2011 Lemonade Day San Antonio, Valero Go! Kids Challenge

Alamo Dome 

100 Montana St.

San Antonio, TX 78203 | Map

Sunday, April 10, 2011 

12 noon – 3 p.m.

San Antonio Zoo

2011 Lemonade Day San Antonio, San Antonio Zoo

San Antonio Zoo 

3903 North St. Mary’s St,

San Antonio, TX 78212 | Map

Sunday, April 10, 2011 


2011 Lemonade Day San Antonio, san antonio locations whataburger pick up San Antonio Whataburgers Saturday, April 23, 2011 


Charlotte’s Web

2011 Lemonade Day San Antonio, Magik Theatre

Showing at the Magik Theatre from April 6 through May 7th.

420 South Alamo 

San Antonio, TX 78205 | Map

Friday, April 22, 2011 



Saturday, April 23, 2011


Max’s Wine Dive | San Antonio, TX

I have been wanting to try Max’s Wine Dive since I first saw the great reviews (and pictures of their fried chicken!!!) pouring in! Thankfully Max’s Wine Dive in the Quarry is opened for lunch on Fridays so my friend and I made our way over. Right on the corner of the new Quarry Village, it was easy to find and park (we went during lunchtime; I could see parking becoming a premium…)


The restaurant’s décor can be described as a marriage between a chic, modern urbanite and a happy go lucky cowboy. There’s a jukebox, 150 different bottles of wine available, and a family-owned business feeling. While I no longer near the Quarry, I would go back just for Max’s Wine Dive.


Although I was emotionally prepared to start with the Salmon Ceviche w/ tomatoes, cucumbers, shallots, avocado, citrus vinaigrette, and MAX’s wonton chips, our waiter meekly announced the kitchen just prepared the last dish but recovered nicely w/ a recommendation to try the Pulled Pork Stuffed Peppers. The piquillo peppers were stuffed with the most juicy, tender pulled pork, and set on a healthy dollop of chipotle aioli and topped w/ a cilantro pesto.


I have been dreaming of the fried chicken since I saw a picture a couple months ago. Travel+Leisure named Max’s Wine Dive’s fried chicken on their 2010 America’s Best Fried Chicken and I don’t disagree. The chicken, three large pieces served w/ warm honey (yum!), fabulously seasoned and simmered collard greens, tasty and fluffy mashed potatoes, and two pieces of toast worth being called Texas was phenomenal. It was completely satisfying and will definitely be keeping Auden’s Kitchen (see their fried chicken here) on their toes. And though I was fearful anything soaked in jalapeño buttermilk for 24 to 36 hours would be too spicy for me, I didn’t struggle w/ the faint kick at all.


Below are pictures of our plates. We LOVED everything, and I cannot wait to go back w/ more people so I’m able to try an even larger selection.


My to-do list includes:

  • Nacho Mama’s Oysters (Crispy fried Gulf Coast oysters and garlic aioli on fried wontons with habanero salsa and cilantro)
  • The Fried Egg Sandwich (Pan-fried eggs drizzled with truffle oil, apple wood smoked bacon, Gruyere, green leaf lettuce, tomato, and garlic black truffle aioli sandwiched between two pieces of artisan levain bread and served with MAX?s chips)


Menus found here.

Max's Wine Dive on Urbanspoon

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Max's Wine Dive at the Quarry in San Antonio, TX