Nikki’s Adventures

Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet, TX

Adventure Story | Austin TX| Ever hear of the famous Texas bluebonnets? Well we checked out a festival dedicated to them.  Check out my article on the Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet, TX. Click here to read the article.

Hey there Adventure Friends!

With this being our second year in Austin, my husband and I are embracing the Texas lifestyle. A Texas lifestyle includes many things but during the spring and summer, one thing you can't miss are the festivals. When I say festivals, I really mean it because there is a plethora and one for every interest.

This last weekend, we decided to explore a little town outside of Austin call Burnet, Texas and continue to celebrate the beauty of the bluebonnets by experiencing the BlueBonnet Festival.  First, here is a little information on the event. This annual festival always takes place on the second weekend in April and the event is known to draw crowds of 30,000 or more. Each year, they make sure to keep the festival fresh by adding activities for first timers as well as returning fans. No matter what your festival group looks like (whether a group of friends, a couple, or family with kids), there's an activity for everyone including live music, a few different parades, demolition derby, car show,  gunfighters shoot-out, art & crafts marketplace, carnival, food court just to name a few.

Adventure Story | Austin TX| Ever hear of the famous Texas bluebonnets? Well we checked out a festival dedicated to them.  Check out my article on the Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet, TX. Click here to read the article.

Walking to the Bluebonnet Festival

We had never been to Burnet, Texas before so we were excited to explore this small town. After just a short hour drive, we arrived in the quite town where we quickly found street parking and walk a short distance to the celebration. We chose to go the Bluebonnet Festival on a Saturday and we were blessed with ideal April weather (clear skies filled with sunshine, a strong breeze & no humid). We arrived a little after 1 pm and walked right into the arts and crafts marketplace. I'm a big fan of browsing, supporting local small businesses and handcrafted items so I was eager to explore to see what beautiful trinkets were on display.

Just a small part of the arts & craft marketplace

However, my hubby check the schedule of events for the day and found out that there was a gunfighters shootout happening in 15 minutes which he really wanted to check out. We decided to quickly speed walk through the marketplace. We made plans to return later in the day so that I could finish my browsing. As we fast walked to the shootout, we passed the food court (it smelled so good), and the carnival where all the kids were playing/riding all the amusement park rides. Unfortunately, we never made it to the gunfighters shoot-out because we never found the location where it was taking place, got turned around, admitted defeat after checking our watches and knowing we missed it. Oh well at least we got our morning cardio in!

Adventure Story | Austin TX| Ever hear of the famous Texas bluebonnets? Well we checked out a festival dedicated to them.  Check out my article on the Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet, TX. Click here to read the article.

As we speed walked though…got to love the wind-blown hair

After we stopped for a quick minute to catch our breath, we set out to truly experienced the festival because before it had just been a blur as we speed by making quick mental notes of areas to return. Our first stop was the food court and its delicious smelling goodies. There was all the traditional carnival food including funnel cakes, ice cream, barbecue, and tacos. After taking two mouthwatering trips up and down the food court, I'm proud to say we resisted the temptation. Both hubby and I have a weakness for carnival food and how it is good for the soul. We decided to stick with beverages and snacks we brought with us. Win-Win for the budget and our health.

Now, it was time to head back to the arts and crafts marketplace. This is where we spent the majority of our time. I can easily lose myself in the search for unique earrings, tie dye, gifts for kids, pets & other family and surprises. This place had it all and you could tell by the way my eyes lit up with each discovery.  The vendors were so polite to chat with. Of course I returned home with a few souvenirs. Check out my loot below!

Couldn't resist adding a red shirt, Tie dye shirt, mint dress to my closet

I'm a sucker for dangling earrings- these have REAL flowers in them!!!

Lastly, we stop to rest our feet by listening to the live music on the main stage and stopped to replenish ourselves at a local coffee shop. As we made our way back to the car, we played the “What Was Your Favorite Part” game. Hubby’s part was us laughing together and mine was strolling through the marketplace holding hands.  Yes, we are that corny and we don’t care!

Adventure Story | Austin TX| Ever hear of the famous Texas bluebonnets? Well we checked out a festival dedicated to them.  Check out my article on the Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet, TX. Click here to read the article.

Proof that we laugh often & can have fun anywhere

We will definitely be returning to the Bluebonnet Festival (got to catch the shoot-out next year) and Burnet, TX for a future event.

Tell me if you have been to Bluebonnet Festival and how do you feel about going to small town festivals? What is your favorite carnival food? Do you play the “What Was Your Favorite Part” game too? I want to hear about it because I know I’m not alone here.

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Adventure Story | Austin TX| Ever hear of the famous Texas bluebonnets? Well we checked out a festival dedicated to them.  Check out my article on the Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet, TX. Click here to read the article.
Posted by Nikki in Austin, TX, Nikki's Adventures, 0 comments

How Finding Bluebonnets Turned into An Adventure

Adventure Story | Austin TX| Sometimes, an adventure can sneak up on you while you are off doing something else. Ever hear of the famous Texas bluebonnets? Check out my article on how finding bluebonnets turned into an adventure. Click here to read the article.

Hey Adventure Friends!

Sometimes, an adventure can sneak up on you. I am a planner. I'm only spontaneous about 45% of the time- maybe less. As a result, very little ever sneaks up on me. This is not saying that it never happens... case in point how our Sunday Funday turned into a family adventure.

This past Sunday was Easter Sunday. My family tends to spend this day relaxing, taking a walk and snapping a few beautiful family photos. I know, not your most exciting Sunday but I prefer Sundays to be relaxing in preparing for the week to come. So when I woke up that morning, I planned to enjoy the beautiful sunny day by taking a car ride to a local park where I heard there was a big patch of Bluebonnet (my state’s flower & kinda big deal this time of year), take a walk and some beautiful photos with my husband and dog. What I wasn't prepared for was the journey we took before our Bluebonnet Adventure was complete.

After selecting our outfits and packing a few snacks, we set out with McKinney Falls State Park as our destination. I had heard there were a few large bluebonnet patches there and was excited to explore this park with my family. Unfortunately as we pulled up to the park, we were met with a sign that said the park had reached its capacity and no new visitors were allowed. I was bummed! What were we going to do now? I didn't have a backup plan and I hadn't even considered that the park would be unavailable. After a few “well that sucks” and shaking my head, we could have given up but I set out to find another location for us.

Adventure Story | Austin TX| Sometimes, an adventure can sneak up on you while you are off doing something else. Ever hear of the famous Texas bluebonnets? Check out my article on how finding bluebonnets turned into an adventure. Click here to read the article.

Preview of the beautiful pics when we found the bluebonnets!

Adventure Story | Austin TX| Sometimes, an adventure can sneak up on you while you are off doing something else. Ever hear of the famous Texas bluebonnets? Check out my article on how finding bluebonnets turned into an adventure. Click here to read the article.

Adventure Begins…

I quickly found an article that listed a dozen or so bluebonnet sightings for 2018 and selected the nearest one. With the GPS set, we set our sites on this new location which turned out to be the LBJ Wildflower Center. Just a short drive later, we arrived and as we pulled in past the welcome sign, my husband asked me “this is dog friendly, right?” My face went white and I said the dreaded words “I forgot to check.” Side note: being in Austin, Texas-which is a very dog-friendly city-I took for granted that this place, of course allowed me to bring in my pup. As we pulled into our parking spot, to my dismay I discovered the Wildflower Center was in fact not dog friendly. Oh no! We weren’t going to leave our pup in the car or leave her out of our family photos. Second location was a bust so did we dare try a third time? (When you set your mind to something, anyone else stubborn like me?)

One last time, I turned to my phone for one last place to experience the Texas bluebonnets. I took a breath and scanned the list. Yes, there was an option that was kid and dog friendly. It wasn't too far from our home, too. So for the last time we set our GPS and headed to Bushy Creek Lake Park. Although, it wasn't our first choice of the day what we found there was everything that we were looking for... a large patch of bluebonnets, walking trails, water views and fun for the whole family.

Adventure Is More Than Experience

We had a picnic in the bluebonnets, our dog got to play, and of course got to take the most lovely Easter photos of our family ever.  Although the day did include stress and worry, what we most remember about that day is the smiles and laughter shared by all (even Ellie, our pup…check out that smile in the pics if you don’t believe me).

Adventure Story | Austin TX| Sometimes, an adventure can sneak up on you while you are off doing something else. Ever hear of the famous Texas bluebonnets? Check out my article on how finding bluebonnets turned into an adventure. Click here to read the article.
Adventure Story | Austin TX| Sometimes, an adventure can sneak up on you while you are off doing something else. Ever hear of the famous Texas bluebonnets? Check out my article on how finding bluebonnets turned into an adventure. Click here to read the article.

Ellie Plays In The Bluebonnets!

So the adventure found us! The adventure was the experience but it was also the journey of getting there. We could have given up, just gone home and tried again next weekend. How many times when I was younger did I do just that?  I was the Queen of “Giving Up When It Got Tough.” It was a hard lesson to learn and took some time (I still have moments where I struggle). The Bluebonnet Adventure was a reminder (how far I have come) that adventure is not just the activity, experience, or location. It's everything that happens in the journey that gets you to that moment.

That is why it is so important to say YES when an unplanned adventure presents itself! You never know what you will learn, how you will grow, or what story you will have to share if you don’t show up.

When has adventure snuck up on you? How did you overcoming the feeling on “Giving Up When It Got Tough?” It is ok if you are still struggling. I want to hear from you. I promise I’m reading every comment so introduce yourself!

 

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Adventure Story | Austin TX| Sometimes, an adventure can sneak up on you while you are off doing something else. Ever hear of the famous Texas bluebonnets? Check out my article on how finding bluebonnets turned into an adventure. Click here to read the article.
Posted by Nikki in Austin, TX, Nikki's Adventures, 2 comments

Why You Should Visit Desert Door Distillery

Adventure Story | Austin TX| Ever hear of the sotol plant and the delicious liquor it makes? Are you looking for a new flavor and distillery experience? Check out my article on why you should visit the Desert Door Distillery. Click here to read the article.

Hey Adventure Friends!

Earlier this month, my husband and I were up for trying something a little different (got to get that newness in) and taking a little drive. But where should we go? Hubby piped with one of his wish list experiences that was doing a tasting at the recently opened Desert Door Distillery. It was his turn to come up with our weekend adventure so I said “Let’s Go.” On a Saturday morning, we set out for Driftwood, Texas and what would turn out to be no ordinary tasting. The Desert Door is the place to find the unique experience of atmosphere, and compelling flavor liquor that you can't find just anywhere else.

Why Are They So Different?

Any liquor enthusiast knows that the most important parts of any great flavor are the ingredients.

Have you ever heard of the sotol plant? Yes, I did spell it right. Let's be honest, you're probably shaking your head NO right now (or doing a Google search) but I'm here to tell you why you need to know about it. With its origin unique to northern Mexico and Texas, the sotol plant grows in the desert and thrives there despite the harsh conditions. It can stand up to 15ft and flowers in the summer. Some people may mistake it for agave, trust me it's so isn't and you can tell by its flavor.

This place is one of the few locations where you can taste the wonderful flavor of the sotol plant. I love the simplicity in their ingredients which includes just wild sotol, organic yeast and purified natural Texas water for their Desert Door Original vintage.

Adventure Story | Austin TX| Ever hear of the sotol plant and the delicious liquor it makes? Are you looking for a new flavor and distillery experience? Check out my article on why you should visit the Desert Door Distillery. Click here to read the article.
Adventure Story | Austin TX| Ever hear of the sotol plant and the delicious liquor it makes? Are you looking for a new flavor and distillery experience? Check out my article on why you should visit the Desert Door Distillery. Click here to read the article.

How Does It Taste?

The short answer is clean, fresh and amazing. From Desert Door’s website, they describe the flavor as crisp earthiness, a hint of floral mint and just the right amount of sweetness to balance it. The Desert Door Original is technically classified as a vodka but after you taste it you'll know it's much more complex than that. If you are a mixology expert or just love crafting cocktails, Desert Door Original is a must to have in your liquor cabinet.

Time to Taste

My husband and I enjoyed the tasting experience. We are just suckers for unique, interesting flavors of food and beverages. So of course, Desert Door Original was right up our alley. I have to say that the flavor description that we received upon entering the tasting room was spot-on. It tasted like a cross between tequila, mezcal with burst of desert flavor. It has hints of herbal flavors with something you just can seem to put your finger on. We both fell in love with the flavor and of course didn’t stop at just the tasting. I had to order a cocktail (Desert Paloma with hints of grapefruit) made with it and my husband just had to try the Desert Door Oak Aged (aged in white oak barrels…smoothness of bourbon & warmth of brandy). The Oak Aged had a darker amber color like the Original which was clear. It was extremely smooth while drinking and would make for a very nice sipping spirit. We may or may not have returned home with an addition to our liquor cabinet.

Adventure Story | Austin TX| Ever hear of the sotol plant and the delicious liquor it makes? Are you looking for a new flavor and distillery experience? Check out my article on why you should visit the Desert Door Distillery. Click here to read the article.

Atmosphere and Service

The staff was friendly, educated (usually we ask a lot of questions) and warm. The property is cozy and beautiful. When you drive up to the Distillery, there was a small little patio area right out front and conveniently located right next to the food truck. The tasting room is beautifully decorated, spacious yet cozy. We arrived just after it opened with just one other family there. We had zero wait just had to just sit down and start sampling. We enjoyed the staff in the tasting room and decided to stay there to sip our cocktails while chatting but otherwise we would have enjoyed the outdoor sitting area. Currently, they aren’t offering any tours but the tasting room does provide a view in to the distillery (you can see all of the stills).

Adventure Story | Austin TX| Ever hear of the sotol plant and the delicious liquor it makes? Are you looking for a new flavor and distillery experience? Check out my article on why you should visit the Desert Door Distillery. Click here to read the article.

Cost $$$

If you're planning to just pop by for a tasting and some lunch, the cost is very reasonable and won't break your wallet. Just be warned that the cocktails are scrumptiously delicious and might make it very difficult to leave the place without your own bottle.

Please add the Desert Door Distillery to your MUST VISIT list for a weekend trip or just quick drive away from Austin. Trust me you will not be disappointed and you'll be able to brag that you have tried the exclusive sotol liquor.

Adventure Story | Austin TX| Ever hear of the sotol plant and the delicious liquor it makes? Are you looking for a new flavor and distillery experience? Check out my article on why you should visit the Desert Door Distillery. Click here to read the article.

My husband and I will definitely be returning to the Desert Door on a sunnier day to enjoy the atmosphere, flavor and overall experience.

How likely are you to try this exclusive taste? Share your thoughts in the comments.

 

Inspired and want to share? Pin this!

Adventure Story | Austin TX| Ever hear of the sotol plant and the delicious liquor it makes? Are you looking for a new flavor and distillery experience? Check out my article on why you should visit the Desert Door Distillery. Click here to read the article.
Posted by Nikki in Austin, TX, Nikki's Adventures, 1 comment

Big Adventure to Austin: Part 2

Adventure Story | What is it like to prepare for a BIG adventure?  Preparing & choosing a new hometown is no joke.  Check out my article for the full story of our move to Austin, TX. Click here to read the article.

Hello Adventure Friends!

I hope you are ready for the continued story of our journey to Austin, TX. 
Did you miss Part 1 of Big Adventure to Austin, TX? Click Here

How Austin, TX jump to the top list?

The quick answer is RESEARCH, JOB HUNTING, SCOUTING TRIPS and PATIENCE!

The easiest parts of the journey were in the moments where decisions were made. My husband and I knew what the right decision was for us (relocating) but the list of what we didn’t know was a mile long.  Here is where the adventure truly began by stepping out of our comfort zone. I began by putting on my research hat compiling cities with a variety of technology opportunities, warmer climates (no snow please), green spaces, restaurants that are gluten free friendly, international airport (current airport was so tiny and expensive to go the places we really wanted to go), etc.  I narrowed it down to a list of about five cities: Austin TX, Washington DC, Atlanta GA, Raleigh NC and Charleston SC (Austin was my favorite…crossing my fingers) which hubby approved.  Over the next few years, there were lots of job applications submitted and we started turning our vacations into scouting trips.  So many times, we thought this is the one that will make our dreams come true only to be disappointed and have to pick ourselves back up and try again (Patience, I told you). Our commitment to this up and coming adventure was so firm that we even sold our home well over a year before the big move to make sure we were nimble and ready!

Adventure Story | What is it like to prepare for a BIG adventure?  Preparing & choosing a new hometown is no joke.  Check out my article for the full story of our move to Austin, TX. Click here to read the article.

Throwback to 2012 when the Journey to Austin began

Finally things were starting to come together almost three years after we made the big decision; hubby was in the final round of interviews with a company (who was based in AUSTIN, TX…crossing fingers again). I could barely get any sleep or think of anything else while we waited for their decision. I had taken a quick trip to Las Vegas around this time. During my return flight, I unfortunately got diverted to another city because of a storm at my connection. I was tired and cranky from an already long day of traveling only to find out that I couldn’t get a flight home (every flight was FULL for the next two days…WHAT!?!?). What could have been the worst day turned out to be the BEST? In my horrible mood, I had to tell my hubby I wasn’t going to make it home tonight (he had been looking forward to my arrival all day) and had to figure out what to do now.

Can you guess what happened next? He took a minute to calm me down and then said, “Well I got great news. I GOT THE JOB & AUSTIN IS GOING TO BE OUR NEW HOME!!!”  In that moment, I forgot all about my situation and cried pure joy right there in the airport (got many odd looks from strangers and I didn’t care one bit). Even though I spent that night in a hotel alone and most of the next day driving a rental car to get back to him, we were never more close than that shared moment of celebration and accomplishment together. When I finally did make it home, the biggest hug and champagne were waiting.

Within the next three months, we were official residents of Austin, TX. The rest of the story is a bit busy and predictable. A scouting trip to select our new residence, downsizing our stuff, lots of packing, saying goodbye to family and friends, loading up our lives into a moving truck, and setting out on a one way road trip to TX.

After all the time and effort to get to our new home, we were determined to soak up every experience and went on a quest to be tourists in our own backyard.

Want to know how to be a tourist in your own backyard?  Check out our Blog Post..

Where are you dreaming of moving to today?  Have you experienced the long distance move too? In the comments, share your dream city or tell me where you moved.

Inspired and want to share? Pin this!

Adventure Story | What is it like to prepare for a BIG adventure?  Preparing & choosing a new hometown is no joke.  Check out my article for the full story of our move to Austin, TX. Click here to read the article.
Posted by Nikki in Austin, TX, Nikki's Adventures, 0 comments

Big Adventure to Austin: Part 1

Why we moved to Austin TX?  Check it out

Hello Adventure Friends!

Today, I want to talk to you about the big adventure that lead my family and I to Austin, TX a little over a year ago.  My hope is you learn a bit more about me (always up for a challenge, not afraid to adjust the picture & enjoy the ride) and why Austin is our backyard. 

So, the journey to this big, beautiful city actually began about five years ago. My husband had just finished an accelerated master’s program.  After celebrating his hard work, we sat down to have “THE TALK” of where did we see ourselves in 5 years and what did that life look like? This is a talk which is not unusual for us. We check in with each other often to make sure our goals are still aligned and each of us is getting our needs met in the life we chose to share together. Hubby surprised me by saying “I think it is time to move to a bigger city with warmer weather please!”

A bit of back story

It is important to note, I was raised in southern California (San Diego) and ended up moving to a small town in West Virginia (don’t worry if you forgot that it is a state…most people think I meant western Virginia) during my teenage years.  Are you wondering how I ended up there? That isn’t important right now (if you are interested, let me know in the comments) but I was cultured shocked for many years.  Honestly, I never really felt like I fully fit in there. Don’t get me wrong, I love WV for many reasons: family & friends left behind, beautiful mountains, and it is where I met my hubby. Because I never felt fully at home there and missed the warmer weather of my youth, I dreamed of moving to a bigger, beautiful city with lots of sunshine and water. My hubby was born and raised in a small town in WV.  He never really saw himself leaving and he loved experiencing all of the four seasons.  Since he is just so charming, I agreed to stay put but made him promise to take me traveling often to other places. Going to bigger cities or warmer climates were a must.

Why these two lovebirds moved to Austin TX?  Check it out

Throwback 2007 on our honeymoon…we were just babies then

Back to the story

Now, do you see why I was so shocked to hear those words come out of his mouth? After talking about his realization, we knew three things had changed that opened his mind to the possibility of a new hometown.  (1)Through our trips over the first five years of our marriage, he had started to realize that there were other places in the country and world he might feel comfortable living. (2) He turned the big 3-0 and realized the cold winters were starting to hurt (OUCH bad knee).  (3) Our current city had limited job opportunities in the technology field. He knew to continue growing his career that he would most likely have to move or be STUCK. Since I knew this decision was not just about what I wanted (even though I know he would do anything for me…being a great wife means I never abuse my power), we took a deep breath, looked at each other and said “are we ready for this?” The rest of the journey is a bit of a blur.  Lots of asking each other “so where do you think we should move?”

How did Austin, TX jump to the top list? Check out Part 2 of the story.

What big decision are you waiting to make?  Share in the comments; I want to hear about it.

Inspired and want to share? Pin this!

Adventure Story | What is it like to prepare for a BIG adventure?  Preparing & choosing a new hometown is no joke.  Check out my article for the full story of our move to Austin, TX. Click here to read the article.
Posted by Nikki in Austin, TX, Nikki's Adventures, 2 comments