Category Archives: Travel

Houston On My Mind

f3bbdfa9-20c4-423b-9523-a0068fb94ca1-6444-000004c09350a274A few months ago when Sarah was in town, we kidnapped our friend Kayla and took her to Houston in a day and back for the sole purpose of taking pictures. At the time, Sarah was the only one who had a blog so Kayla and I were just along for the ride and a chance to have someone photograph us. Cool!

We headed out early morning with our first stop being outside San Antonio for breakfast tacos and sweet tea from the one and only Bill Millers. That was my first mistake, tea! Houston is only a 3-hour trip and I had to stop at least 5 times to pee on the way there. It made it pretty obvious which one of us was the mom in the group.  We had a sweet playlist set up, so it was a smooth ride… aside from all the pee stops.

My husband (being the champ he is) created a map for us to follow with all the pinpoints of the murals we wanted to check out. We weren’t able to catch them all, but we enjoyed ourselves and made it almost like a game. Arrive, change clothes, run over to the wall, take photos, change again, run back to the wall, take photos, run back to the car, hit up next destination. A few of the walls were across the street from each other so that made it easier.

1. Sugar and Cloth Color Wall
3302 Canal Street
Houston, TX 77003
*Update: This wall is no longer available. A bunch of cotton-headed ninnymuggins painted over the wall!

Isn’t she adorable?

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When we arrived, we didn’t realize it would be in a very populated parking lot next to a gas station. It made outfit changes difficult since my car doesn’t have tinted windows. A few of the men that were at the gas station ran over and asked if they could have their pictures taken with Sarah and Kayla, Sarah convinced them that she was famous and they didn’t question her for a second.

2. Synchronicity of Color “Art Boxes” by Margo Sawyer
Discovery Green Park
1500 McKinney St
Houston, TX 77010

This park was really neat, there were multiple different colored “Art Boxes” scattered through the park. We didn’t pay for street parking so we only hit up one and made it quick.

Kayla being the spider monkey she is, managed to climb up in my 5-inch heels and pose like a queen. Right up until the rent-a-cop blew his whistle and made her climb down. Nice shot Kayla, nice shot.

3. Zipper Colorful Wall by Kelly Graval (aka Risk Rock)
1513 St. Emanuel
Houston, TX 77003

This was in a huge graffiti park and the parking lot was completely empty so we had the ability to change and snap pics as needed.

 

4. Red and Teal Diamonds
Chinatown Printing and Graphics
2102 Leeland St
Houston, TX 77003Twinning. Just Kidding, she already has a twin.

I am super clumsy and couldn’t manage to balance on that pole on my own, thanks for the help Sarah.

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5. American Queen Mural by Michael Savoi
3100 Smith St
Houston, TX  77006

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6. Biscuit Paint Wall
1614 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX  77006

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img_2622Again! SO ADORABLE!

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Here is a pic of Sarah’s backside. Looking good cuz!

7. About Rocks by Russell Etchen
Lawndale Art Center
4912 Main St
Houston, TX 77002

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My friend Aylin (Houston local) stopped by for some sushi and a quick snap, we’re a trio the 3 of us.

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There you have it!
Come to Texas and put Houston on your list. Come for the Tex-Mex, STAY for the murals!

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How To Be A Good House Guest

Two weeks ago, my mother-in-law/BFF, Sheila, and I flew to Nashville, TN to attend my beautiful sister-in-law’s baby shower. After flying out of a blizzard and straight into a thunderstorm (a plane ride deemed “too bumpy” for us to be served our complimentary Chardonnay) a relaxing 38 hours in a new city was just what the doctor ordered. Since all the rooms at Laura’s house were filled with friends (and one perfect baby boy), Sheila and I had the pleasure of staying with Jeremy and Elsie Larson. I’ve been crushin’ on The Larson House via Instagram for a while now, so it was truly an honor to get the invite to actually sleep there. My main goal for the weekend (besides feeling Gummergal‘s baby bump as much as possible) was to be a good guest and not embarrass myself. I can’t speak for E or J, but I think I did a pretty GD good job… For the most part, anyway.

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Although we’ve been Internet Gal Pals for a while now, I couldn’t help but think it might be, idk, a little weird not only meeting Elsie in person, but staying in her house. Would it be like sleeping in a museum? Would I be allowed to touch stuff? Would her dogs like me? Would my habit of waking up early annoy the shit out of everyone like it usually does?  I soon realized that this would be my first time being a real guest (staying with family or long-time friends doesn’t really count) in someone else’s home and I’d have to be on my best behavior.

Full disclaimer, it wasn’t even a little bit weird and the Larson Dogs, Dolly and Suki, totally love me. Elsie Larson, YOU REALLY ARE THE HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS.

The weekend went by so quickly, but I made the most of my short time in Nashville. Most importantly, I now have some good tips on how to be a good house guest…

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I mean, how freaking cute are these Palm Springs themed shower treats?!

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HOW TO BE A GOOD HOUSE GUEST:

  • Don’t quote obscure movies or TV shows, no matter how funny you think you’re being. Example: Elsie gave Sheila and I a tour of her home and when it was over, I turned to her and said “your house has a real ass on it” (a quote from an episode of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia). I got a polite smile from Elsie and an elbow to the ribs from Sheila.
  • Watch where you’re stepping, you clumsy fool. I kept walking into all the cactus and getting poked.
  • Do take advantage of all the cool mirrors. If they didn’t want you to take mirror selfies, they probably wouldn’t have bought them.
  • Make your bed! I never, ever make my bed at home, but it seems like a polite thing that people do, so I did it.
  • Make yourself at home! I definitely did wake up early to sit in the living room, kick my feet up, and read my book like I do at my own house every morning.
  • Don’t just slink out into the night when you leave like some kind of cheap hooker, say goodbye to your hosts.
  • Resist the temptation and don’t snoop (even if going through medicine cabinets is one of your favorite things to do).
  • This should go without saying, but don’t steal anything… we know that pink ukulele is calling your name, but buy your own on Amazon. GET OUT OF HERE, YOU CAN’T EVEN PLAY THE UKULELE.

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A big thank you to Jeremy and Elsie for letting us stay with you and for not thinking it was weird that I took so many pictures inside your house…. Oh, you do think it was weird? We’ll work on it next time!

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¡Viva Fiesta!

Fiesta originated 125 years ago when citizens of San Antonio wanted to celebrate the heroes of the Alamo with what they named The Battle of Flowers. It became a tradition and is now ingrained in San Antonio’s culture. And get this, it is the only parade in the country to be planned and directed completely by women! GO GIRLS! When I was a kid, I was in synchronized swimming and our team, The Cygnets (baby swans), got to participate in the parade and had our own float. Being super clumsy, I was never allowed to go on the float so I had to walk. We were told to just throw candy at kids whenever we walked by them, which could be a little dangerous. When you think about it, the parade is a ton of giant piñatas spewing candy all over the place. No baseball bats or blindfolds involved so all the hard work is done.

source: walkerreport.blogspot.com
Photo: TOM REEL, Staff / San Antonio Express-Newsimg_1936

Being born and raised in San Antonio, I have a deep respect and appreciation for my city. When Fiesta comes around each year, I am again reminded of the history and culture of this beautiful city. N.I.O.S.A which stands for Night In Old San Antonio is where the party is at. Every year Sarah’s Dad, my uncle, volunteers and usually always asks for help. He works at the “Ranch Steak” tent. Ranch Steaks are a thin slice of chuck on a tortilla. Can’t get much simpler than that!

If a Ranch Steak doesn’t peak your interest, you could also try the infamous Chicken on a stick, or Steer on a stick, Elote (corn on the cob), or anything fried you can think of. Being a volunteer, you get all the sweet perks. Early entry, private bathrooms, air conditioned lobby, and free food. Whenever I had the chance to help out with my cousins, we would always be the ones taking tickets and banging the cow bell saying “RANCH STEAKS! GET YOUR RANCH STEAKS!” Then when 10pm came around (closing time) all the hungry drunks rush to your booth to get their greasy fill. Things can get a little crazy but overall, it’s a grand time.

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The whole month of April has Fiesta-related events going on, but the main events are from April 20th – April 30th. If you plan on making a trip, I would suggest coming for N.I.O.S.A., you will experience everything “Fiesta” in a span of 4-5 hours from good food, drinks, music, and partying. If you plan on bringing kids, I would recommend the Fiesta Carnival or one of the many parades. All information about the events and details can be found here.
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If you’re ever planning to visit San Antonio, come in mid-April and party like a local!

xoxo,
Christina

I Love You So Much

A blog about my love and a love-themed wall mural tour in Austin, TX.

It’s hard to believe Brandon and I will be approaching our 6 year anniversary this Sunday. I can’t imagine what those years would have looked like without him. His patience and humbleness continue to blow me away. His ability to stay calm through the phone calls about my speeding tickets, or how I again, didn’t manage to clean the house even though I was home all day with the kids… well there is your answer, with the kids. I mean it when I say we were made for each other, I don’t think there is anyone else out there in the world that would be able to put up with me and my crazy weird self.

A few weeks ago, we went up to Austin, TX and had a hunt for any “love” themed wall murals. We didn’t make it to all of them before the sun went down but the ones we were able to grab were perfect. This makes for a fun double date, by the end you have a full, satisfied belly (because Austin has amazing food at every corner), and pictures for days!

Tyson’s Tacos

4905 Airport Boulevard
Austin, TX 78751

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of the two of us in front of this wall. I was wearing a unicorn mask so I wasn’t in my right state of mind.

You’re My Butter Half

2000 E. MLK Blvd
Austin, TX 78756



Don’t you love a good pun?  This wall is fun, bright, and has great natural lighting.

Till Death Do Us Part

E. 7th St & Waller St
Austin, TX 78702

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Brandon’s probably thinking “more like when my wife becomes overly obsessed with unicorns do us part”. TOO LATE.

Puppy Love

Mud Puppies
2015 E. Riverside Dr
Austin, TX 78741

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One thing we didn’t know before visiting was how hard the photos would be to take! We are about 2-3 feet above the sidewalk on a narrow upper walkway. Also, this is directly in front of a parking lot which was completely full because the next-door neighbor was Emo’s (music venue) and there was a show about to happen that day so it was packed. My friend had to climb on some cars to take these, thankfully we didn’t tick off anyone. IT’S FOR THE BLOG.

 

Love Is The Question, Love Is The Answer

1115 W Lynn St
Austin, TX 78703

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I wish I had the strength to fight off some gnarly looking monsters.

 

I Love You So Much

1300 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704


Ask me about my melons. This photo wasn’t taken on the same day as the others. I was at this wall with Sarah and we got stopped to be in a collab video (watch it here, and a small clip here) interview with The American Heart Association and Subway, they just asked us about our favorite fruits and veggies and if we ate them on a regular basis. Of course we do! We love our fruits and veggies!

I really do.

That concludes my Love Tour of Austin. If you’re interested in planning a date hopefully this guide will help direct you. My husband tried to line up the order from the furthest north down to south since that’s how we would be coming home.

To Brandon:

Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je t’aime davantage,
Aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain.
-Rosemonde Gérard

(For, you see, each day I love you more,
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.)

Always A Bridesmaid…

…just once a bride.

2016 was the year of weddings for my husband and I. With a total of 9 weddings attended, only 2 we were not in the bridal party. I will admit, it was crazy at times but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

The first rule as a bridesmaid is to set your pride aside. Your best friend is getting married and there is a slim chance she will have the  opportunity to do it again so make sure she feels like a star. It’s not your day, it’s hers. Secondly, try your best to say “yes”. She needs you with her as much as possible and wants your approval and support, not to mention a killer looking squad. Lastly, SET YOUR PRIDE ASIDE. Yeah, I know I already said it but that’s how important it is. Trust me, in the long run, you’ll be glad you did. Knowing I was a hairdresser, all of my friends asked me to first, be a bridesmaid. Then I was asked if I could do the hair. So of course, I had to say yes.

The Guthries

To kick off the 2016 madness, we flew to a beautiful destination wedding for our friends Dave And Cyntia. We stayed at the Paradisus resort in Punta Cana and had an all-inclusive week of luxury. Most of our time was spent on the beach, but we did have an excursion where we were taken to a “floating island”. A man-made spot where we could get a massage, swim with sharks, kayak, or just soak up the sun.

Throughout the resort were signs featuring information about the Mangroves and how there was a tour you could take. My Husband was begging to take this tour from the moment he stepped on the resort so once Sarah and Joel arrived, we got to it. It wasn’t much of a “tour” since we didn’t have a tour guide so we just walked through a pathway of mangroves. And saw a family of turtles. Destination weddings are a wicked vacation because you’re surrounded by an awesome group of friends, amazing food and drinks, and located in some of the most beautiful places on the planet.

The Blumers

Fast forward 3 weeks and a road trip to Pittsburgh and we are celebrating Sarah and Joel Blumer. I came up a week before to spend some quality time with Sarah and help her with anything, from cleaning her house to doing her hair for her big day. I remember my first bridesmaid task: within a few minutes of arriving, Sarah asked me “Hey, can you take this blanket upstairs for me?” Of course I said yes, this was my first official job as MOH! Being assigned MOH, my main task was to have pink hair, so the first day I was there, we colored my hair pink to have it prepped for the wedding. I got to help make the DIY gem wall and assist with the “May the Fourteenth Be With You” marque sign, although it was all Joel really.

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The night before the wedding, Sarah and I stayed at Hotel Monaco in downtown Pittsburgh. All Sarah wanted to do was take a big bath and then go to sleep. Nothing too crazy happened except her other BFF Allie arrived at midnight, after Sarah passed out. Allie and I snuck out and walked to the nearest corner store for snacks and treated ourselves to the complimentary bottle of champagne the hotel provided.

My husband Brandon was also in the wedding and we got lucky enough to walk down the aisle together. The Blumer wedding wins for most creativeness, everything was thoroughly picked out by the bride and groom: completely unique, but perfectly Sarah and Joel. Hundreds of hours of DIY work and crafting went into it and it was worth it. I loved every single second spent at their wedding and I know for a fact they did too! I was honored to be Matron of Honor. The wedding was at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA.

The McIvers

Three weeks later, we are back to Texas and back to blonde to attend a classic, glamorous wedding between my baby brother, Andrew, and his gorgeous wife, Lauren. The bridal party spent a week in Las Vegas during the Super Bowl so we didn’t have to deal with any casualties the week of the wedding. I can’t say too much about that except “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

My parents hosted the rehearsal dinner at their home and did a super cute Italian theme and ended the night with fireworks. I saved about $40 by carefully removing the nails I wore to Sarah’s wedding and re-gluing them for Lauren’s wedding. Talk about a “McIver”. On the morning of the wedding, both the mother of the bride and I got to do all of the bridesmaids hair and each others.  The McIver wedding wins for most classic look. They were married at Boulder Springs in New Braunfels, TX.  The bridal party all matched in charcoal, chandeliers hanging throughout, drapery, and a full candlelit reception, it was breathtaking.

The Smiths

In October I had the honor of being a bridesmaid for my bestie Lauryn. The bridesmaids spent a few nights downtown San Antonio at the Menger Hotel, San Antonio’s most haunted hotel! Sadly there were no ghost encounters. We had a great party at a piano bar and then woke up the next morning to all have a relaxing spa treatment. The night before the wedding, we blew off some steam by going to Top Golf and hitting some balls for a few hours.

The day of the wedding, I got to do Lauryn’s hair as well as some of the other bridesmaids. Lauryn and Brad had a beautiful, rustic country wedding at Enchanted Springs Ranch in Boerne, TX. I put my dancing skills to the test with the Grand March. A good chunk of the wedding family was Czechoslovakian and it’s tradition to do the Grand March at your wedding. My husband and I made friends with the bartender, and every time we went for shots, which was about 8 times, she snuck one with us.

The Valencias

To seal 2016 was the woodland wedding at the La Escondida Celebration Center in Helotes, TX featuring the lovely Mikhala and Lorenzo Valencia. Talk about creative and unique. I loved being part of this wedding! We had a space themed bachelorette party and all the girls wore GLITTER ROOTS! We had an Alien named Billy who came with us and even managed to show up at the wedding.

I loved the color pallet they used; the bride is an artist if you can’t tell. She worked hard to make sure everything came out perfectly. The night before the wedding, she stayed up until 4AM working on personalized artwork to gift to the parents. The bridesmaids made our own floral arrangements, and again I got to do all of the hair. Love won between these two, and they conquered all obstacles to get there. Highlight of this wedding was the saxophone player playing Careless Whisper. Almost everyone was out on the dance floor shaking their booty!

And yes, I wore my unicorn mask to every single wedding. It was worth it.

P Is For Pizza

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Pizza and Friday go together like, well, pizza and freaking Friday. I double-dog-dare you to name a better combination! Pizza is universally good (so is Friday).

Anyway, we The Blumers have been working very hard and doing a lot of exhausting and extensive research in order to bring this post to the ole blog. We’ve rounded up our top 5 favorite pizza places in Pittsburgh (UM YOU’RE WELCOME!), but first let’s just talk about pizza, K? Our love for this stuff goes deep.

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I didn’t realize until I moved up north that the pizza in Texas kind of…. I HATE TO SAY IT… sucks. Okay, maybe that’s being harsh (Big Lou’s, Ray’s, and Dough are all excellent pizza places in San Antonio), but the pizza I grew up eating can’t hold a candle to the pizza I eat now (that being said, I’m still very much #TexasForever and it’s a fact the north will NEVER, EVER be able to figure out Tex-Mex, in my totally biased un-humble opinion). If you’re reading from my home state with a slice in hand, please carry on. It’s called blissful ignorance.

We spent 4 days in Italy on our honeymoon and we literally ate pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus the occasional midnight snack. You know what they say, “when in Rome… eat pizza as the Romans do…”*

It’s been an unspoken tradition to have pizza in some way, shape, or form on Friday nights here at the Blumer Haus. It’s been especially nice lately because I’m trying to not eat carbs during the week (ya know, gettin’ back to my fighting weight), but on Fridays I go ham on some pepperoni. It’s what I most look forward to during the week!

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Alright, alright, alright. I’ll quit my jibber jabbering and get down to business. Without further ado, our favorite pizza in Pittsburgh:

  1. Mama Lucia’s NUMBER FREAKING ONE FOR A REASON. THIS PIZZA IS SO GOOD I HAVE TO WRITE THIS IN ALL CAPS TO GET MY POINT ACROSS. WE DON’T CARE THAT IT’S A PAIN IN THE ASS TO DRIVE TO EITHER. THEIR PEPPERONI WINS AT LIFE.
  2. Luciano’s  I can’t believe there was a time in my life when I hadn’t experienced Buffalo Chicken Pizza! Luciano’s makes the best! And they’ll make you a heart shaped pizza if you ask nicely enough!
  3. Pizza Grande the pepperonis are all like little pools filled with grease that I just want to dive into. Sound gross? It’s not, YOU’RE GROSS.
  4. Italian Village Pizza best, most convenient pizza by the slice.
  5. Two-way pizza tie between LaNova Pizza because they provided the pizza for our wedding after reception after party (we had leftovers for days too!) and Pizza Perfecta because their pizza is, um, perfecta?

If you’re a local and you’re reading this and you’re thinking “hey this b-word left out S___ Bro__” well, I did it on purpose. Broaden your horizons. Also, their service sucks. K BYEEE.

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Pizza Tank/TATY, Pizza Float/Ban.do (sold out, similar)

*funny, we actually did not go to Rome.

Night At The (Warhol) Museum

I love going to art museums. I especially love going to art museums when they have free admission (bonus points if they serve wine). Every Friday night, throughout the month of January, the Andy Warhol museum (here in Pittsburgh, Andy’s hometown) offers just that!

Unlike the shit show you might meet when visiting most museums on a free night, the layout of the seven story museum does a pretty good job preventing big hoards of people from congregating in front of one piece of art. We’ve been paying tribute to the King of Pop Art for three years in a row now, and we never get tired of seeing his work. As of recently, you are now allowed to take photos inside of the museum, so grab your camera man and have him capture you looking at art. If anyone ever doubts how cultured you are, just whip out those pics!

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Dancing at the Warhol 2014
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Twinning with Andy 2015

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Some of my favorite Warhol quotes:

“Art is what you can get away with”

“One’s company, two’s a crowd, three’s a party”

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The floating silver balloons are my second favorite installation. It’s a lot of fun to play with those things, but be gentle or you’ll get yelled at.

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Some of the rooms have parachute lined seating areas where you can sit and pose and pretend to look at art.

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The skull/Mao room is my number one favorite! When I first visited Pittsburgh in 2011, Joel took me here and we sat in this room for a long time talking about art and making out and stuff.

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The museum has a stuffed lion as well as a stuffed Great Dane. Taxidermy FTW. I wish I would have thought to stuff my Great Dane, Samson.

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It’s advised to start at the 7th floor and work your way down, which we did last Friday even though I was wearing new shoes and the elevators were out of order. The photo booth in the basement of the museum is the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. AND they have a play area for kids complete with a copy of Where’s Andy, a spinoff of Where’s Waldo that’s fun for people of all ages to play. Also, don’t even get me started on how they have the best gift shop of any museum ever (you can buy your own copy of Where’s Andy)!

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Tomorrow night is the last night to visit the Warhol Museum fo free, but if you can’t make it this place is worth the price of admission!