Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Exploring Houston: Murals of the City {Part 2}

Last year I pulled together my a few of my favorite murals from around Houston.  Since then the mural scene has totally exploded.  In large part due to the HUE Mural Festival, that occurred for the 2nd year back in October.  Over 100 different artists took part in the festival and painted new murals around the city.  And boy did they come up with some amazing stuff!

My partner in crime when visiting the Houston murals is Ashley from The Wandering Weekenders so when I found out about a few of the new murals I knew I had to see if she wanted to come along.  Plus we were doing out annual birthday photo shoots so we hit two birds with one stone.

So without further ado I give you.....

Attached to each mural you'll find below are links to each of the artists Instagram pages and the hashtags they use for all the photos taken in front of their murals!  So be sure to head over to Instagram and give each of the artists some Insta-love! 

Love Wall - Whaley Fine Art

This was the wall that inspired me to find some new murals this year.  I originally saw the wall on a friends Instagram post on Valentine's Day.  The minute I saw it I knew I wanted to take my 29th birthday pictures here.  It's located in the same area as the Zipper Wall.  It's a relatively small space and there are two other murals flanking either side but there is still plenty of room to capture pictures.  There is a little railing directly in front of the mural so you will have to navigate your pictures around that.  

You can Instagram the following hashtags to see some of the many pictures people have taken in front of the wall.  #lovewallhtx  and #dreamzincolor.

You can find the love wall in the East Downtown area at the intersections of Leeland and St. Emmanuel Streets.

El Chan Guri - Luis Valle

So, I'll be honest, this is not a wall that I would typically visit.  It doesn't really go with my taste but I appreciate it for the artistic value and the talent behind planning and painting the wall itself.  Just about the only think I can draw free hand is a flower so this is pretty amazing and worth seeing in person!   I do however, love the colors that make up the background of the mural.  Those are right up my ally.

Fineapple- Trees McGee 

Personally I find puns hilarious so this wall gave me a good laugh.  Ashley really liked it so we couldn't resist getting a picture of her in front of it.  It's located on the same stretch of wall as the El Chan Guri mural.  You can also check out #RoyalMcGee for more pictures and murals by the artist. 

You can find both the El Chan Guri and the Fineapple murals at: 1800 Opelousas St. over by St. Arnold's Brewery.  

Be aware that your GPS might lead to a sketchy area, so my advice is to turn onto Maury Street the make the first right and you'll be on Opelousas street and will find the walls not problem!  

Rose Wall by Tyler Kay
(Disclaimer: I don't know if this is what it's actually called but it's a big rose wall so there ya go)

I first saw this wall over on It's not HOU it's me (a fantastic blog where Michelle and Anastasia cover all things Houston and travel related), and thought it was so neat!  Especially with Beauty and the Beast having just released in theaters.  It wasn't on our list for the day, but as luck would have it we basically stumbled on the wall while we were looking for the El Chan Guri wall.  And because of my love of Beauty and the Beast I knew I had to get a photo in front of it.

You can find the Rose Wall at: 1213 Maury Street, you'll be in the St. Arnold's Brewery collection of warehouses.

Sadly we only were able to snap photos at four of the many murals located at each of these places because it started to get rainy.  But there are a ton more murals along the stretch of each wall in the locations mentioned above.  Each are so unique and really do have their own story to tell.  

I'm really hoping the HUE Mural Festival happens again this year, because I will definitely want to attend and watch a few of these murals come to life in real time.


Just like last year, looking for, finding and snapping a few pictures in front of all these new murals was so much fun.  There really is nothing like getting out and seeing all that your own city has to offer.  

Happy Exploring! 


Monday, March 27, 2017

The Weekend

What a weekend!   It seriously feels like I was on the go nonstop and I didn't hate it.  After having a really laid back Spring Break, I was ready for an eventful weekend.

Lets recap shall we?

Friday kicked off with a surprise baby shower for a co-worker at school.  We coach together and she is having a little boy come May. Following the baby shower, I drove out to College Station to spend the night with my aunt and uncle. We watched a movie, had dinner and then went to bed!  

Saturday dawned bright and early.  I slept fantastic and had a leisurely morning with coffee and a muffins.  Then we jumped in the car and headed out to explore a little but of Texas.

We ended up in Independence, Texas (where Texas officially declared independence from Mexico, apparently they have a big celebration on March 2nd).  Our stop in Independence was the Antique Rose Emporium, which is basically just a little nursery where you can purchase different types of plants and flowers.  They have a huge space with adorable little walkways and paths all lined with sweet smelling florals.

I literally could have spent all day here, it was so peaceful and beautiful.  And the Texas weather was absolutely perfect!  There was also a little chapel on the grounds and you can rent out the space for weddings and other special events.  Which I feel like would be the perfect setting for a wedding I mean look at this place!

These roses smelled heavenly.  I stood there for at least 10 minutes inhaler their sweet scent and taking about a thousand pictures.

After our stroll through The Emporium, we headed back to College Station and had a tasty lunch at a popular burger place, Koppe Bridge Bar & Grill.  Then it was back to Houston.

Once I got back to Houston, I decided to do a little DIYing.  My friend Jordan had posted that she was going to be making her own farmhouse inspired candle holders.  I loved them so much I decided to make some for myself.   So a trip to Home Depot and about $25 later I have these adorable new candle holders.  Apparently the original ones can cost as much $200.  But you can find the full tutorial for these little beauties over at Jordan's blog, Former Kennedy.

As I was getting my DIY on, I watched Midnight in Paris and reminded myself just how much love that movie.  I would love for what happens to Owen Wilson to happen to me.  Plus I agree with my friend Jenny, who said that the film gives a great message in that every generation feels like the time period they're living in is unfulfilling.  And that previous generations "had it better".   But that we should appreciate that every generation feels like that!  So enjoy the time period you're living in to the fullest because the next era will think we had it better!

Sunday morning I was up bright and early again.  I met some friends from work for brunch at Churasscos, a tasty South American inspired restaurant in Memorial City.  It was so nice to spend some time with them outside of work.  Plus we celebrated my birthday since I wasn't in town on my actual birthday.

The later part of the day was spent at Lawless Spirits & Kitchen at a blogger workshop.  This was my first workshop with the Houston Bloggers Union, a branch of The Blogger Union.  I was so excited to attend this particular workshop because the focus was photography!  The event was put on by two local Houston bloggers, Anastasia and Natalie from It's not Hou it's me.  They put together a fantastic workshop with some amazing venders.   We had a Q&A with two fantastic photographers, Maritere from Maritere Rice Photography and Kellan and Michelle from Cotton Weddings.

Following the Q&A we had the opportunity to practice out skills using some amazing props from some amazing venders around Houston.  I got to chat with Michelle about using manual mode and she gave me some great tips and tricks.  While there were all kinds of props and set ups we could have practiced with I found myself mostly drawn to the florals and pretty desserts.  I've included some of my favorites from the session.

Mind you these are completely raw photos.  I didn't edited them at all.  

To say I had a great time at the meet up would be an understatement.  I met some great fellow bloggers and actually learned something! Which is exactly what I was hoping to get out of the workshop!  I cannot wait until the next one! 

The weekend was eventful, I feel like I need another one just to recover!  Anyone else think that Friday should just be a weekend rather than weekday?  Three day weekends all the time sound pretty great to me!

Have a great week friends!  Linking up with Biana for Weekending! 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

30 Before 30: Year Check In

Last year I made a 30 before 30 list.  Originally I had intended to do a 28 in 28 list but I figured that would be too much pressure so I wanted to give myself two years to complete some of the things that I had come up with!  

So far I've done....horribly.  I literally have only completed like 5 things.  Major fail.  I feel like I should have completed at least half of them while I was 28.  Because now I feel like I have quite a bit to get through in the next year.  Plus, as I'm looking at some of these I'm not really sure what I was thinking.  Because a year in, there are few things that I want to take out and/or change.  But I think I'll just stick with my list and make it more of a priority in the next year!  

Let's see what I have done shall we?! 

1. Go to Washington D.C.    
Woo hoo!  This was accomplished last summer. And it was fantastic.

2. Go to Europe again.  
This will be happening in March of 2018.  I'm pretty certain I'l actually be IN Europe when I turn 30. 

3. Live in and decorate my own apartment.
Check! And let me tell you, it is the best!

4. Go on another cruise.
This is happening this June!  And I've already started paying for it and bought my plane ticket so I'm checking it off!

5. Run a 5K or some other type of race.

6. Try online dating again. 
I've joined Match and have been on a few date, none of which have lead to anything.  It's been really depressing actually.

7. Reach 1,000 Instagram followers.
I'm currently at 826 and I totally think I can make it to 1,000 in a year!

8. Get the domain I purchased to actually work with my blog and eventually re-design the blog again.
YES!  I finally got a domain to work!  I'm officially www.placesiwillgo.com   I'm hoping to re-design the blog sometime soon.

9. Read 200 books - 100 for each year I have left till 30.
I'm not sure this gonna happen. But I'm gonna sure try.  

10. See a Broadway or Broadway type play.

11. Take a photography class.
I'm actually taking one this Sunday!  The best part is that it's specifically for bloggers so I'm super excited!

12. Make photography a side business.

13. See Michael Buble in concert. (Hopefully he goes on tour in the next two years.)

14. Go back to Universal Studios and see Diagon Alley.
BAH! I just got wind that this is probably happening when I'm in Florida in June!  I'm pretty much freaking out about it to be honest.  

15. Apply for the Fund for Teachers travel grant.
I'm not sure this is something I want to do anymore.  

16. Be healthier- possibly go down a jean size or two.
I'm not sure where I'm at one this one.  I don't even own a scale.  I do know that I'm still the same jean size as I was when I wrote this list, so that's good I suppose.  If only because it means I haven't gained any thing.

17. Buy a clothing item full price from Anthropology.

18. Pay off remaining my credit card debt. 

19. Build my savings.
I've started this too! So fingers crossed by the time I'm 30 it's a nice chunk of change.

20. Visit either: Boston, Chicago, or Seattle.  (or all three! :) )
I was supposed to be going to Chicago this summer, sadly it doesn't look like that is going to be happening anymore.  But I'm hoping to do a long weekend in either Seattle or Boston instead.  I've decided to add Charleston as an option here too! 

21. Meet my future husband.
Nope.  Well see how this year goes.

22. Take a (or preferably multiple) workout class - Zumba, Pure Barre, Spin....something!

23. Attend another blog conference.
Sadly I couldn't attend Thrive this year, but I'm really hoping to be able to attend next year! 

24. Go skiing.
This was another one that almost happened this year but didn't.  My mom really wanted to go over Spring Break but we ended up staying home.  We've been talking about going in December though! 

25. Record a vlog.

26. Learn to do my hair in an up-do.

27. Learn to like wearing high heels.
Accomplished.  Now ask me if I actually wear them that often and the answer is no.  But when I do I actually like it!

28. Eat in a restaurant by myself.

29. Send close friends and family birthday cards starting this summer.
Ok so maybe starting next week, rather than last summer.  I've already got my first one ready to go!

30.  Go to the Houston rodeo.
This was supposed to happen this year and sadly it did not.  Next year for sho!

I've left a few blank with no update or anything because those are the ones I had forgotten about.  I think I need to write this list in my planner and have a note in my phone so I'm more aware of it.  

I am really glad I gave myself until I was 30 to accomplish these because clearly if this had been a 28 in 28 I would have failed HORRIBLY!  But I am excited to have something to accomplish in the next year.  Gives me something to work towards and that is always a good thing! 

Sidenote: If you've never read the book 30 First Dates and you're almost 30 (like me!) I highly recommend it.  It's about a girl who write a 30 before 30 list and incorporates dating into it to help her accomplish the items on her list.  It is so cute and totally worth a read if you're close to or already at 30! :)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Break and Birthday Shenanigans

29 and feelin' fine!  Wow that sounded lame.  But I have to say it is true.

Last week was basically a week long weekend for me.  I spent the entirety of my Spring Break hanging out in my hometown with my parents and best friend.  And while it wasn't terribly exciting it was still one of the best weeks I've had in a while.  I would have posted this recap yesterday but I drove for 10 hours straight and was exhausted by the time I got home.  The older I get the harder it is to sit in one place for that long!  

Any who, here were the highlights of the week!

MY BIRTHDAY!  Saturday I celebrated my 29th birthday!  I celebrated with pedicures with my mom, seeing Beaty and the Beast, and a delicious dinner at one of my families favorite restaurants Billy Cruise.  

Side note: Beauty and the Beast was amazing!  It was actually much better than what I thought it would be, because I was worried that it would be so CGI that it wouldn't be believable.  But that was not the case at all.  I loved that it basically mirrored the animated classic perfectly and I loved all the new songs that were added too.   I'm excited to see it again this Thursday!

Please excuse the fact that you can see my bra strap in two of these! (insert eye roll emoji here)  Clearly I am NOT a fashion blogger! ; )

 A big thanks to Ashley (The Wandering Weekenders) for taking my birthday pictures for me this year!  I love that she and I have made this a tradition!

Quality time with my parents.   Living 10 hours away from my family can really suck sometimes.  I sometime wish I lived in the same city as them so I could pop over for dinner whenever I wanted.  So it was great to have some uninterrupted time with them.  

Photoshoot with my bestie.  Not only does living 10 hours away from you parents suck but so does living 10 hours away from your best friend.  Thankfully she and I talk basically everyday so it's not that bad.  But nothing beats getting to see her in person.  Especially now that she has a little girl.  Every time I'm in town though I make a point to spend a night or two with her.  This time around we decided to have a little photoshoot.  Before she became a full time mommy, Ashley was a rockstar teacher and a year or so ago she opened her own little shop on a website called Teachers Pay Teachers where she sells lesson plans and other items to other teachers.  She's decided to take her success a step further and create a full on website and focus her attention on Classroom Management.    SO....she needed a few professional photos to use for her new site.  Plus I needed a few photos that I could use here on my little space of the internet so we took pictures for each other! 

Las Cruces, NM surprisingly has some great photo spots and thankfully we were able to snag some pretty good ones!  

Brady found a new home with my parents.  Ok so this last one isn't exactly a highlight but it's not a lowlight either.  For a while now, I've been thinking about letting Brady live with my parents.  They have a nice big backyard and a way for Brady to be an indoor and outdoor cat.  He has so much energy and it's been hard to keep him cooped up in my apartment.  So I made the very rough decision to leave him with my parents.  He absolutely LOVES being outside and I can tell that he is so much happier.  But I may or may not have started bawling as I drove away on Sunday morning and it is super quite in the apartment without him.  Thankfully I still have Sadie but she is so much quieter and  laid back than Brady is.  My mom has been sending me pictures and updates on how he's doing and thankfully I'll be able to see him every time I go home! 

I just went through a bunch of the picture I took of him as a kitten and now I'm getting weepy again.  

So I think this is a good place to wrap up.


Over all it was a pretty good week.  Very laid back and relaxing.  I loved getting to spend my birthday with my parents and brother.  Next year I'm hoping to be in Europe somewhere, right now it's looking like it's gonna be Iceland and Denmark (woo hoo!), so it was really nice to spend my 29th with them.  

I wish I could say I was ready to come back to work but I'd be lying.  I'm so over this school year and am anxiously awaiting June 2nd!  :)

Linking up with Biana for Weekending!


Friday, March 17, 2017

Goodbye 28......

Today is my last day being 28.  I'm sorry what!  How in the hell has this year gone so incredibly fast?  I know I've said this a thousand times on this blog of mine, but time feels like it is literally flying by!  I just looked at the post I wrote last year when I turned 28 and I wrote about the 5 things I was most looking forward to in my 28th year of life.

So I thought it would be fun (for who? Me I guess and you too) to see what became of those 5 things.  Did they come true?  Did they not?  Let's see shall we?!

Living by myself for the first time ever.  So far this has been amazing.  Early on it was semi lonely and I found myself wishing for a roommate.  But it's been 8 months and I can safely say that I LOVE living alone.  I love having my own space.  I love being able to do everything on my time.  I love how my apartment decor has really come together.  I've learned a lot about myself living alone and I'm glad I've had this time with....well myself.  Which probably sounds totally weird but is true.

Maybe, possibly, hopefully meeting my person.  Yeah this didn't happen.  I dated here and there but nothing stuck.  I feel like this is the most frustrating aspect of my life right now and I'm just not sure what to do about it.  I know I know, I'm supposed to stop thinking about it and when I do it'll just happen.  But hello!!  I've been doing that for the last 5 years and it still hasn't happened.  It's getting to where I'm officially going to be the last person in any of my friend groups without a significant other.  I continuously ask myself why I wasn't one of those girls that met her "person" in college.  And quite frankly the whole dating thing is exhausting, especially as I get dangerously close to thirty.

Reading 100 or more books.  Negative.  I met my yearly goal of 50 books and since then I've read 11 books, so that brings my total since this time last year to 61.  I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote this one to be honest.  How I thought I could read 40 addition books from January - March 17th is beyond me.  

Visiting our nations capitol.  My family and I visited Washington DC last July and it was a phenomenal trip.  It was the first trip we'd been on as a family in about 5 or 6 years and we had the best time ever.  We visited all the major sites and even got to tour the Capitol and The White House.  As a teacher who specifically teaches US History, I think it was important for me to visit the Capitol.

Creating and completing a 28 in 28 challenge for myself.  So it turns out that I ended up writing out a 30 Before 30 list as opposed to a 28 in 28 list.  So I guess that means I need to write a 29 in 29 list for this year!  Would it be cheating to include some of the items on my 30 Before 30 list?  Because I totally think I might have to do that.  Also stay tuned next week, because I am going to be doing a year check in on my 30 Before 30 list!

Well,  over all I think my anticipations for my 28th year were pretty good.  Two of them were obviously things I knew were going to happen and the last three were things I was hoping to happen.

I sometimes wish I could get just a little flashes into what my life if going to be like in the next 15 or so years.   Then at least I wouldn't have to worry so much about the choices I'm making or the things that aren't happening that I wish would happen.  But life doesn't work like that does it?

So I guess I'll just have to have faith and be patient.  :)