Travel to: San Antonio

Let me start off by saying that southern hospitality is truly a real thing. My family & I found that out first hand on our trip to San Antonio. After staying there for a week, we weren’t sure that we wanted to go back home. It was as beautiful as the people were sweet. We flew down on a Friday night and got to start our adventures early the next morning. This started with a large delicious heaping of biscuits and gravey at the hotel buffet and went on over to The Alamo.

The Alamo is one of the most significant symbols of Texas and is a gorgeous sight. Now, photos are not allowed to be taken inside the building as a sign if respect to those who passed there. With lots of artifacts and history, it is a very interesting landmark with a lot of history to it.

Then we went on to do a goofy, but fun, adventure that my daddy signed us up for after that. Two words; Segway tour. Now, non of us have ever actually rode one before and he thought it would be an exciting new opprotunity. It actually turned out to be really fun! We got to ride around to some of the most beautiful locations in the city and down the river. Whatever you do, don’t let them fool you, those machines can actually go really fast! At one point of the tour you get to take a break at a park and can play around on the Segways. We were warned not too go too fast in the gravel, because the rocks are loose. Well, my father and I being retired Motocross racers, the first thing we decided to do was race. On our second lap around a corner, I learned my lesson. All I remember was all of a sudden looking up in the sky with the Segway wheels facing towards it. Luckily, I didn’t damage it and all I got was a few scrapes, but oh how I smacked that ground hard! A guy walking down the street actually ran over to make sure I was okay. I was so embarrassed. I had completely flipped my Segway. So, let this be a lesson, don’t race them in the gravel if you decide to do the tour! Otherwise, you may be teased forever!

That evening we went to the little Mexican Market Square and got dinner at a restaurant that served the best Mexican food I have ever had in my life. It was 100% authentic and absolutely delicious! There was even a mariachi band playing. After our amazing dinner we shopped around. There were all sorts of little stores with things from Mexico and Texas stuff. Street vendors were spread out everywhere, and that’s where I got most of my goodies. One lady was handmaking bracelets and another had hammered silver rings from Mexico. A very popular bakery is also located there and I got Mexican chocolate and pasteries. While they were yummy, just keep in mind that Mexican treats are not very sweet!

On our second day we explored all of the missions. Fun fact; The Alamo is actually an old mission, and was on the map showing all of them. We drove all around the outskirts of San Antonio finding all of these beautiful missions and admiring their beauty and history. The largest one was Mission San Jose, which was located in a compound area. It had archways and lots of detailed architecture, as well as a golden stage.

My favorite one would have to Mission San Juan, because I fell in love with its’ simplicity. The outside was a gorgeous stucco white with one little tower top. It consisted of a few rows of pews and a small stage to pray. It had a cozy and romantic feeling to it.

The oldest one was Mission Espada, and it did not have much left to it. The front of the Mission is al that remains, but it was amazing. They will hopefully be restoring it soon!

Then there was Mission Concepcion, which was very interesting. It had lots of passage ways and rooms and almost a castle like appearance to it. The other odd thing was that it was by a school! All of the others were off at national monuments in parks. So who knows how much longer this beauty will be around.

That evening we went to the town square and watched a stunning light show on the San Fernando Cathedral. It was a quick and fun free thing to see. We then went over by the Manger Hotel for a ghost tour of San Antonio. The tour wasn’t as excited as we had hoped, but we did get to learn some pretty cool stuff! If you decide to do the tour, skip my next few paragraphs, so that I don’t ruin it for you. However, do keep in mind that you can actually visit these places all yourself and learn some cool history from me and google.

• The Sister’s Grimm Ghost Tour •

The first stop was The Manger Hotel, where they told us that Mr. Manger himself is known for joining others late at night at the bar. They have had strange circumstances of drinks being thrown at walls and furniture being moved. You also used to be able to rent his room for a few nights, but guests would complain of things being thrown around, going missing and loud unbelievable noises, so I believe it is now off limits.

The Cathedral was another stop. It was known that a nun had hung herself there, and that bodies were actually buried in the walls. What’s worse, is it turns out that where I took a photo by the Cathedral, people are known to have seen the nun hanging behind them, because that’s where she hung her self. I took the photo earlier that morning!

Of course then there are locations like The Alamo with ghosts of soldiers and random unexplained circumstances around the city of San Antonio, but the best one has to be the Holiday Inn Hotel.

The Holiday Inn Hotel actually used to be the city prison/jailhouse. When you look at it you can still see the metal bats on the windows and inside is still the jail house mural and sayings above the check in desk. It turns out that they actually executed people at this one, and would drop them from the second floor down to the first in a noose and hang them. They would they stack the bodies and bury them all together out in the back. No wonder this place has a high haunting rate. Of course it is cleaned up and looks like a normal hotel, but be careful when swimming in the pool. It is actually where the bodies were buried and they dug a bunch up andjust moved them around. A lot of people avoid the pool due to hauntings.

• End of haunting tour •

Early the next morning we headed to House to have a small breakfast and explore the house. It was an old Victorian Style home that was renovated to look original. Right down the street was the King William Historic District, which is known for its’ gorgeous mansions. You can actually tour a few, so we were able to see one. It was all original and decorated superbly. Unfortunately that was the only one open the day we went, but we did get to walk around and see all the pretty homes.

The rest of the day we spent down on the river walk. If you visit Texas, you have to see this. It is a beautiful man made river in the center of the city with tons of shops and restaurants located around it. We had dinner at Dick’s that evening. While their catfish was the best I have ever had, I’m not a fan of the experience. I know that they’re supposed to be rude on purpose, but I found it to be more annoying than funny.

In the morning we packed up and headed out to the Natural Bridge Caverns. I am claustrophobic, so it was a bit nerve racking, but I did it! It’s amazing how the underground forms such pretty shapes and structures. Keep in mind that it is really hot down there and very muggy. We learned tons about stalagmites and other formations, and got great pictures.

Since we got to Texas, the patrons had been nothing but nice, friendly and polite to us. That day however, we truly learned what southern hospitality was. We stopped at a Whataburger, (My brother and I are obsessed with King of the Hill) and the manager overheard us say that we were visiting from another state. He then cane over to our table after bringing us food and started telling us all the best things to go see in San Antonio and where some of the best local’s secrets were. It was the coolest thing ever, such a nice guy!

Later we stopped by the the Buckhorn Saloon. It was an amazing place that consisted of handmade brews & root beer with tons of taxidermy everywhere! The saloon has been around for a really long time, and when locals couldn’t pay their tabs, the owner lady would accept rare or special taxidermy instead. There is everything from a giraffe to a lion to bears to a 72 point buck. It’s very interesting! The saloon is also a museum, so we got to walk around and see some oddities, trophy hunts/fishes and even history about the amazing Texas Rangers! It was a really cool place to go!

In the evening, after dinner, we decided to try an escape room. The place was called Thirteenth Door. They’re known for having an amazing haunted house with a slide to the basement with an actual ghost. But, since it was off season, we did an escape room. The theme was zombie escape. We were trapped in a room with a bunch of others and had to solve puzzles to try to escape. A zombie was chained to a bathroom stall in the middle of the room. After awhile his chain would get longer and longer. You had to get away from him or else he could keep you locked in his stall with him. It was such an adrenaline rush and fun with screeches and excitement! We were one clue away from winning, when he finally got all the way off his chain and Time was up! Even though we lost, it was a blast!!

On our last day of adventure, we drove out to New Braunfels to go tubing. At first we went to the little town and walked around. It wasn’t anything too exciting, but it was cute. Now, I didn’t find it to be hot at all in Texas and almost skipped tubing. I am so beyond glad that I didn’t! You get these gnarly big black tubs and float down a water canal going through the city. It was apart of their storm water/irrigation system. So odd, but so fun! Tons of people actually were off on alcoves swimming and playing on the water, so it wasn’t weird! There were chutes to move the water to lower levels, and we actually shot down themlike a slide! Eventually it dropped us into an actual river and we got to see some beautiful green trees and plants all around us.

We might not have gotten a chance to see everything in San Antonio, but what we did get to see was awesome and I will for sure be back again in the future!

Las Vegas is Your 21st Birthday Destination

Ever since I was little I always wanted to make sure I went to Las Vegas for my 21st birthday. Anytime there was an opportunity to go there before I turned 21, I turned it down. I had wanted to get the full experience of Vegas, and it was not a child destination. Luckily, my parents always felt that Vegas was where we HAD to go for my birthday and it was the best experience I have ever had!

I remember the day of my 21st, we flew out to Nevada. It was my momma, daddy, their best friends (Literally my second parents), my aunt and my best friend. We all saved up to make this trip very memorable. I got on that flight wearing my 21 crown and kept getting ‘Happy Birthday’ from everyone that I walked passed in the isle. The stewardess made a huge announcement that I just turned 21 and everyone cheered! She then came over and bought me my first little drink. Jack and coke with the cutest little heart stirring stick! Not even at Vegas yet and it was already a great start.

When we arrived, my daddy had a limo waiting for us. (Limos are super cheap in Vegas and a great deal!) Of course, it felt like luxury. We had the driver take us to the closest liquor store, where we bought a good chunk of alcohol and some pedialite. Once back in the limo we blasted music and popped a bottle of pink champagne. It was so much fun!

Since my daddy is the ultimate master at finding the best deals for everything, he got is an awesome rate at Treasure Island. It was gorgeous. I remember walking in and couldn’t believe how fancy and nice it was, or how big! Once checked in, we stopped down by slots on our way out to the strip. If you aren’t a gambler (like me), you have to at least do a slot or two. I put $1 in a random slot, won $20, and that was literally the extent of my gambling.

It was very hot when we went, but not Arizona Hot. Since we didn’t have a lot of time that day, we just walked along the strip to Harrah’s so my daddy could get a $1 beer. We tried White Castle (so overrated) and I got a Bailey’s frozen chocolate drink. AH-MAZING. Then we headed to the Flamingo to see the Flamingos, (Yes, they have real ones!). Our last stop was the miracle mile shops. If you ever need to do a shopping spree, come here and do it. The amount of shops and designers are amazing. The Venetian was amazing. Gorgeous architecture. It totally felt like Disneyland though when I saw the gondola! The best part was everyone was so friendly and happy! Anywhere we went, they all had a smile on their face and were genuinely nice! At the end of the shops was one of the largest Sephora’s I have ever seen! So naturally, that was where I first spent money, (And got my first free birthday gift!).

After that we went back to the hotel and got ready for the big night we had ahead. Daddy had planned for us to go to Gilley’s. It is a little country bar located in Treasure Island. That night they were doing a bikini bull riding competition and he told me the reviews said no one goes on Sunday nights, so I should have an easy shot of winning $200! Why would I turn that down?? We all got dressed up in our cute country outfits and my bestie and I wore Sashes for our birthday, (hers was a month earlier). She bailed from bull riding, but I went through with it. There were some really fun goofy ladies that did it too and we all had fun with it being silly! Unfortunately they bring up regulars at the end and even though the crowed declared me winner (birthday girl), they gave the money to the regulars. But how often does a person get to say they were in a bikini bull riding competition?! Then we all went out two-stepping until they closed. At that point we went over to Senior Frogs, where it was totally bumpin! Everyone was dancing and we all took the most delicious shots I have ever had in my life. Plus, most people there are sadly 20’s, so it’s a good place to start!

The next morning we went to breakfast at one of the restaurants inside the hotel. My daddy rented a cabana for the day so we could all catch some rays by the pool. If you ever have an opportunity and money to rent a cabana, DO IT! It was the ultimate experience. We had nice lounge chairs, a pool round chair bed, pool couches in the cabana, a bar with fridge (free water), a tv/radio and our own waitress! I ordered their sushi and probably ordered about 3 more portions of it through the day, seriously so good. It felt like luxury at the pool that day and we befriended a bunch of people from around the United States.

Since sushi is my favorite, we went to a fancy little sushi place at the Fashion Show Mall. Delicious! Later that night, we went to see a show. We got all dressed up and fancy to go out and see Cirque Du Soilel. You always need to see a show when you go to Vegas, but I wouldn’t recommend seeing one of these ones. It was really weird and strange, not to mention boring. It made no sense, but we made the best of it. I’ve heard that Absinthe is supposed to be amazing, the knight one is a crowd pleaser and the zombie burlesque is funny, (which I will see later this next month!).

That next morning we went to the buffet and played Keno, where we each won a dollar. You have to do it, it’s silly but a must. The buffet was of course fantastic, and we headed out to go hit all the casinos on the strip. It is a lot of walking, but so totally worth it! Caesar’s palace was pretty, The Linq was fancy, Cosmopolitan was a dream (chandelier bar and all pink), New York New York was eh, and Paris is pretty ugly and outdated. But, you have to check them all out! They each have their own little quirks. I have to say that The Bellagio though, was one of my absolute favorite hotels! Such elegance and class with a taste of luxury. They change the floral garden theme often and it never disappoints. It was sea life when we went. It made the other hotels look cheap.

We stopped at the Ice Bar in Mandalay Bay and had a few drinks. It was truly a fun experience! We upgraded to fur coats and got photos taken. It is expensive, but cool!

We then stopped at the chocolate bar at Hershey’s in New York New York. DON’T GO THERE. I paid $15 for the most sickening drink of my life. Raspberry chocolate martini. Every time I think about it I gag. Rancid tasting thick syrup with cheap vodka. So to make it better we went to one of the best Mexican bars ever, El Diablo’s (which is now closed sadly). They made fresh guacamole in front of us and my bestie and I split the best margarita EVER!! We also got to hop up on the bar and spin the wheel for the drink specials! They have us free shots, which I did not need. This was the only time I was a little buzzed in Vegas. I don’t feel the need to drink a lot, (college taught me that one).

So the rest of this was a bit fuzzy, but I have the gist of it. Us ladies went to the Ross (disappointing) and the stores on the end, where we went into a Sunglasses Hut. I really needed sunnies, so all I remember was walking in, picking two random pairs of glasses and telling them to choose what I should buy. I apparently got Tiffany blue Michael Kors aviators for $150 (Mini heart attack). They turned out to be the best sunglasses ever and lasted until this year. One of my coworkers stole them when I moved to Arizona.

Anyways, we rushed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. My bestie and I skipped dinner that night. That stupid gross martini was making me ill, and I don’t mean puking Ill. Plus, I wanted to get it all out of my system so I wouldn’t miss out on the plans for the evening! Turns out the seafood restaurant at Treasure Island wasn’t very good, so I didn’t miss much. That night we left the strip and went to a local favorite spot, the Golden Tiki. It was a Caribbean themed run bar. The website had coupons for free pineapple dole whip (YES FREE PINEAPPLE DOLE WHIP)!! So we got that and it came with a small pool of rum at the bottom. The drinks fit the theme perfectly and were pretty, but VERY STRONG. Their rum was the strongest I’ve ever tasted. It was good, but too much for me. Unfortunately, they didn’t have food (future Bar rescue nominee?) m, but they told us we could bring outside food in. So daddy and I went down the street, with drinks in hand (I love Vegas), and ordered Chinese food. We brought it back and had a late night Chinese food feast at the bar! It was a good time.

Our last full day we decided to go down to Fremont/Old Town. We took an Uber there (Truly the cheapest and fastest way to get around town) and stopped at the old school casinos. At the Golden Nugget I lost $10 on slots, but it was fun to be in such a retro old school original Vegas vibe. The old neon signs were probably my favorite part of old town. Such beautiful history. For lunch we walked to container city and had yummy tacos. Hopefully they expand it soon because there’s not much there. Instead of ubering back, we decided to walk. Which was fine at first, but at the end it sucked.

While walking we were able to stop by things like Pawn Stars and the Little White Chapel from in the Hangover, but there wasn’t much to see. I don’t reccomend ever going to specifically look for “famous” movie or TV destinations because they usually aren’t worth it, but they are fun if it’s on the way or you happen to see them.

The streets by the Stratosphere were not the cleanest or safest feeling, but we made it just fine. The hotel itself doesn’t offer much and I sure didn’t have enough guts for the rides! Some of our group went on the rides and we joined them at the top. Decently cool view. From there we rushed in an Uber to the hotel. That night was our big going out night. So we all got dressed up in our sexiest outfits with lots of black leather and tight clothes. My daddy had got us all a spot on a party bus tour, and let me tell you, THAT is how you do clubs in Vegas.

Every night the party bus destinations are different, but we started ours off that the rooftop bar at Mandalay Bay. It was a nice quaint little bar, perfect for networking or business people after a long day of work. Very classic. The view was absolutely stunning. A gorgeous lit up view of the strip. We also got 50% off drinks for being on the party bus. Then after an hour or so we finally got on the bus to head to another club. On the bus were lights, stripper poles and free alcohol for us! (To pregame and not pay for expensive club drinks).

The next club was a bust to us. I don’t even remember the name of it. The cool thing was we got VIP entrance and got to skip the lines to get in. Inside it was loud crappy music (not even dancing music) and there were ladies dancing on the other side of glass walls. That’s also when we learned that Vegas clubs have a no sitting policy. If you want to sit down or rest, you had to buy bottle service. Luckily, my bestie and I got invited to a booth by a guy for a birthday party. The drinks were gross, but we got to sit. I believe I forgot to mention why we needed to sit. Vegas clubs have a strict dress code. Ladies can only wear heels and fancy outfits and guys can only wear dress shoes and shirts. Dark nice jeans are fine though. So our feet were killing us.

After that club they took us out to the Las Vegas sign (a mini one) to get photos and drink champagne. That’s when they brought us to the Chateau club at Paris. Probably the coolest one of the night. You walk up a huge staircase that brings you to an enormous room with lots of couches, pool tables, games and etc. What was weird was it was empty. Turns out everyone was out on the rooftop DJ dance floor and booths. Right away me and my bestie were spotted by this large group of boys and they ordered us Ciroque bottle service. That’s where I found my new favorite vodka. We had a few drinks and the boys smoked hookah. They were all super cute and we found out that they were from a boarding school and their parents paid for them to go on holiday. If you haven’t guessed it yet, they were British boys. And YES they had accents 😍 We hung out with them for the rest of the night and eventually Ubered home. The cool thing is I still keep in contact with the one I befriended, and when I go to England I’ll have the hookup with the coolest spots!

Then came our last morning in Vegas. It was truly bittersweet. We were all tired and wanted to rest, but we didn’t want to leave such a perfect place. We went to the Venetian one last time for gelato and macaroons and then to the Wynn, which is now my favorite hotel! If you want a glance at the life of luxury and class, just walk through there. That place is not cheap to stay at and is not meant for families. Afterwards we chilled by the pool (lawn chairs suck compared to the cabana) and we said our goodbyes to one of the REAL happiest places on earth.

If I had to describe how that trip was, it would be the best trip I’ve ever had in my entire life. To me, it was more fun than San Francisco, Disneyland and even Hawaii. So if you want to ‘Let the dogs out’, (Alan) or even feel bit luxurious, then you need to head to Vegas. Especially on your 21st, because you’ll get most of your drinks free and everything at a discount!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!