SURPRISE: San Antonio, TX!

HOLAAAAA!!!!! To say I’m ecstatic to share this post would be an understatement. I arrived in Texas late Thursday night, so I will share the very beginning of those festivities in my next update post. BUT for now- guess what we have?!?!?…. A TRAVEL post!!! And the best part was how unexpected this one was!

On the Thursday that I arrived, my mom handed my sister and I each envelopes with the CUTEST notes inside….

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My sister is fluent in Spanish, has lived in Dominican Republic and Honduras for brief periods of time, and has been dying to use her Spanish lately, so she was beyond excited about this “hispanic adventure”. 🙂

My mom also knows how much I love blogging about our travels, and so she thought it would be a fun place to go to take lots of pictures, experience authentic culture and cuisine, and make some amazing family memories.

DJ had to stay in Cali for work, and my stepdad (Pete) insisted that we make this a girl’s trip… hence, we had the most epic girl’s trip to San Antonio for a literal 36 hours. We left at 7:30 am Saturday and returned 7:30 pm Sunday, on the nose.

Also fun fact: the last time I was in San Antonio was with my mom and dad when I was 23 months old. Now here I am, almost 23, going back to San Antonio on the exact same weekend I did all those years ago ❤

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As soon as we arrived, we took our bags up to our hotel room and hit the gym for a 30 min. run to get our energy levels up after the 4.5 hours of driving. It was exactly what we needed. The sun was just beginning to peak out too when we stepped outside, so it was perfect timing.

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We walked by the river walk, but didn’t yet explore because we had other things on our minds……. FOOD.

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My mom insisted that we eat at a restaurant in the Historic Market Square. This place is just one giant festival. The colors and decorations are multitudinous and vibrant, a nice change from the neutral tones of the Bay Area. Patrons and restaurant employees line the bricked walkway in los charros and las china poblanas (traditional hispanic garb). The atmosphere was contagiously upbeat, and the smells of food lingered through the air, enticing each passerby to consider stopping in to sample their own claim to fame.

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Mi Tierra is where my mom insisted we indulge. She never leads astray when it comes to good comida, so Halston (my sister) and I happily obliged.

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We put our names in and were told there would be about a 45 minute wait. Ya’ll think I can get hangry? You haven’t met mi hermana. She can be a wildebeast when she needs food. Sorry, Hal, it’s the truth. So 45 minutes just sounded a tad too long for us to twiddle our thumbs. Rather, we decided to go to the bar and order some drinks and apps to tide us over. Luckily we snatched the last few seats next to some locals wearing Mexican palm cowboy hats.

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Frozen margaritas for me and mother bear for starters

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I’m not the biggest fan of them, but when in Rome (Aka when in San Antonio). This one was delicious and accompanied the food super well. My favorite is the salt around the rim and I do prefer them frozen better, I must say.

& Virgin pina colada for baby sister bear. 

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We decided to split their special shrimp cocktail which uses jumbo shrimp, cocktail sauce, avocado, cilantro, and a bit of something magical to create the perfect combination. I wish so badly you could have tried this, Deej, because it was RIGHT up your alley!!!!

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And naturally- we had to taste test the salsa, avocado, and chips. My mom makes some out-of-this-world homemade guac, so that’s always the degree of comparison when we try other places’ recipes. The smoky flavored salsa was fantastic, chips were great, and the guac… on.point. No worries, Momma Jill’s still takes the lead.

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We didn’t leave a morsel of food behind… and then our buzzer paged notifying us that we had a table available. Oh shoot, we were gonna eat lunch weren’t we?! We decided we were pretty darn full and would just munch on the boardwalk when we grew hungry again.

We hopped into this bathroom before heading out and I had to take a picture. It was just darlin’!

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TIME TO EXPLORE!!!!

We finished exploring the Historic Market Square and then went to the indoor Historic Market place right next to it.

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Santa was just hangin’ around.

We stopped and watched the performances going on here for a few minutes, walked through the shops, and admired the handmade trinkets that littered the walls.

Now it was time to make our way to the River Walk!!!!

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The River Walk was absolutely like nothing I have ever experienced. It takes you to another place, and you really don’t even feel like you are in the United States anymore.

With the authentic Mexican eateries every few feet, one may assume they are in Mexico. When passing the Italian Cafe’s, one may have assumed they landed in a Venetian oasis.

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After exploring the River Walk we went to the Alamo. This holds a special place in my family’s heart. We have an Uncle who voluntarily came down from Kentucky and was killed in the battle. We found his name on the wall, took a picture, and discussed how sobering this moment was. All these years later, here are his great-great-great nieces were still coming to this place and discussing his memory because of his service.

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After exploring The Alamo, we hit the road and went to the Shops at the Rivercenter.

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I know where some of my blogging ladies would be spending their time 😉

The mall wasn’t insanely huge or anything, but it was awesome because you had a spectacular view of the river walk the entire time you shopped! We also picked up some Timberlands for my sister while we were there from Journeys!

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We did a bit more exploring around the awe-inspiring architecture and Cathedrals.

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———————-

TIME FOR A BREATHER.

We went back to the hotel and spent about 15 minutes resting our feet and recouping our energy. My mom kept saying, “Ya’ll better not fall asleep! I mean it!”.

Ok- we are good to go.

LET’S HIT IT!

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We headed back out as it started getting dark and decided to do the Riverboat Tour, because it’s like a requirement in San Antonio, honestly.We waited for a bit over an hour before we finally were able to get on the boat, but it was worth every second. The way the lights lined the gargantuan trees that loomed over the water, the jovially boisterous noise from all angles as people settled in for dinners and drinks, the music reverberating off the ancient brick, and memories being created for lifetimes all around us made the wait pleasantly bearable.

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The tour itself was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The air had a gentle breeze that was soft enough to just about put me  to sleep (coupled with the fact that we probably walked about six miles in a day). The coaxing of the boat down the water and the smooth rocking enhanced the experience of seeing the River Walk in an entirely new way. I loved the history that the guide provided about gems of San Antonio. Buildings we would pass by without a single glance now demanded a thought in space and time.

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We were able to get up close and personal to a monologue of Ebenezer Scrooge. This moment took me back to feeling like I was five years old again. The magic of Christmas was thick in the air.

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It cooled down incredibly quick, so I threw on this cardigan that I have been anxious to use for a night just like this!

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I know that you are all wondering- what about dinner?!?! I was wondering the same thing too by the time I got off that river boat! Most of the places on the River Walk are chains, and the ones that aren’t have a tremendous wait. We decided to try Yard House. This is one of my sister’s favorites. I have never been, but I will certainly be going back. The ONLY negative is they don’t serve bread, and my sister and I live for the bread at the beginning of meals.

We all basically have the same taste in food between my mom, sister, and I. We ordered a few things and then just shared them. We had the red quinoa salad bowl which included kale, parsley, brussels sprouts, roasted beets, cauliflower, pomegranate, feta, baby tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, and blood orange olive oil vinaigrette. Oh my lanta. I could eat this every day for the rest of my life I’m pretty sure.

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Next we shared the Mediterranean Salmon which was za’atar crusted with spicy tahini sauce and red quinoa with cauliflower, kale, golden raisins, and pistachios. It was YUM. I have never known what to use za’atar for (I have a bunch in my cabinet), so I am so pumped to start using it to crust my salmon!!!

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Last was the INSANELY delicious BBQ “Chicken” Pizza. It included Daiya (vegan) mozzarella, cilantro, red onion, and BBQ sauce. **Usually it just comes with normal mozzarella, but we asked for the substitute. This reminded me of the pizza samples we had from Morning Star at EAT/DRINK SF in August!!! Just fantastic.

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Next, we had to face the cold. The temperature had plummeted from the time we went in for dinner to when we left. Good thing giant blankets are back in style. LOLZ.

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In the morning on Sunday, we worked out for an hour, and then hit the River Walk for brunch.

But before we actually ate, we had to commemorate little sister’s first steps in her Timberlands 😉

When Halston read this ^^^ she said “Kenz, you make it sound like I’m a two year old! Take that off your blog!” Hahah. Tough luck chuck. I like it so it’s stayin’.

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Isn’t she the cutest in all the land?

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In other news, I hit a new level of basic. Didn’t think that was possible did ya?

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And on that note…Off to brunch!!

We decided to try this amazing place called Ostra. Momma Jill went in the past with Pete and said it was the bomb dot diggity. Just not in those words. We basically skipped in there we were so hungry and excited to eat their food.

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My sister ordered a hot chocolate while my mom and I ordered mimosas and coffee. Why coffee too? Because coffee never needs a reason, but also it was PEETS!!!!! Yes they serve Peets!!!!!!!

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We decided to do the breakfast buffet. They had about four tables of delicacies to choose from and an omelette bar. It hit the spot! We tried their special Chilaquiles, jams, fruit, toast (they had Fage to put on my toast, so I was pumped), granola, etc. etc. For meat eaters, they were not lacking in options- they had a plethora of delicious and unique options like blueberry sausage!

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We ate our fill (and then some) then headed out to the Natural Bridge Caverns. My sister and I have never been to Caverns before, so we were in for a real treat.

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Everything felt prehistoric and although we were freezing our tooshes off outside, the caverns themselves were toasty warm. Also, it’s a third degree felony to touch the cavern objects, so don’t do that.

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The pictures below cannot do justice to just how mammoth these caverns were. They were breath taking. Despite how my sister and I stood with our mouths agape the entire time, my mom swore that these didn’t even compare to the Luray Caverns in Virginia. Anyone ever been?

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Just a couple of cave-dwellers.

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We headed home after thirty-six hours that we will each forever treasure ❤

Thank you again, Mom!!!!

See ya’ll on the next post on my time here in Fort Worth!!! 🙂

xo ❤

Mack

87 thoughts on “SURPRISE: San Antonio, TX!

  1. Love San Antonio! This post brings back memories for me! I grew up in Texas and went to school in Austin, and we would head to San Antonio and the Riverwalk all the time! We also loved going to the caverns. Gosh, its been ages since I went back. Now I am going to convince my husband to make a trip out to San Antonio and Austin next year!! What a fun 36 hour trip you ladies had! You have a cool Mom!

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    1. It truly is an amazing place. I’m so glad that it brought up some great memories for you 🙂 I do hope you get to make a big trip next year!!!!! Woohoo! And yes, I feel so blessed to have her as my mom 🙂 Have such a great week!!!!

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  2. It looks like you had so much fun! I haven’t been to San Antonio since I was a kid, but I remember the River Walk. It was so fun! All of your food looks delicious! This makes me want to go back and go visit the caverns. Those looked awesome! I can’t wait until your next post. What a fun trip!

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    1. Hey Tara!!!! YES- you have to go to the Caverns! They are SO. COOL. The pictures can’t even come close to doing justice. The food was SOoOoo good too, I could have spent the whole day just eating if given the chance. It’s been a blast so far. DJ and I have talked about moving to Texas after California, and I would not be opposed. Hope your week has been off to a great start 🙂

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  3. What an AWESOME surprise! That sounds like such a fun trip. I LOVE San Antonio and have been there a few times myself. It’s so cool about your great (great?) uncle too! P.s. super cute outfits!! 😀

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    1. Hey girl! It was the sweetest thing she planned!! This was my first time going, and it is SUCH a fun place!!! What are some of your favorite things to do there or places to eat?!? My mom and step-dad go down quite a bit and I’d love to give them any suggestions 😉 And yes! I have heard about my uncle throughout my life, so it was neat seeing that in person. And thanks Jennifer!! Coming from you, the fashionista, that makes my day 😉 Have a great week, dear!!!! xoxox

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    1. It was 🙂 Definitely some special memories for us. We use to do a ton the three of us but now it’s very hard to all get together. Very very special 🙂 Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!!!!!

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    1. Awww, that’s so good to hear, Kiran!!!! I try to make it so you can feel like you are journeying with us 🙂 That’s something I love about reading people’s blogs is I feel like I can live it through them even if I will never go to that place they travel. I am glad that you felt that way too 🙂 Hope you are having a great start to your week, dear!!!! HUGS!

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    1. Awwwww!!! Thank you, Meg!!!!!!!!! You just made my whole day! Thank you for the sweet words and oh my goodness thank you SOOO much for the nomination 🙂 AHHH! I am so honored ❤ ❤ I hope you have an absolutely beautiful rest of your week! xoxo

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  4. San Antonio looks fabulous! Now I want to go! I love your pics, every one of them, and especially the pics of you against the huge mural on the riverwalk. How wonderful to have quality time with your Mom & Sister. Your Mom seems lovely, what a fun thing to do with the surprise notes. I’m loving all the pics of the three of you. These trips and are what lifelong memories are made of. So much fun reading all about your adventure!!

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    1. It was SO much fun! You would love it! I am surprised you haven’t been… but yes yes add it to the bucket travel list 🙂 Thanks for the sweet words- my momma is one of a kind. I am very thankful for her. We definitely will treasure these memories close to our hearts!!!! Thank you for taking the time to read and share in our adventure with us, Anna 🙂 ❤

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  5. Texas is one of the few states I have never visited, but thanks to you, I now have San Antonio on my list! Really though, how cold could it be? It looks warm to me, but then again, it is below zero today in the Northeast. Thanks for sharing your wonderful getaway, Mack! ❤

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    1. Yayyyy!!! PLEASE make sure you make time to visit 🙂 You will not regret it! Such a fun place. And Austin is not too far either. Hehe, it was down into the 30s when we left, and in Fort Worth it was -1 with wind chill… for this Cali girl, I was being an absolute baby about it. I’m about to head back to Ohio in a few days and I think I’m in for a shock. Thanks for reading and coming along on our adventure with us !!!! Hope you have a wonderful week!

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  6. I can honestly say I have never had a desire to go to San Antonio, but after reading about your trip..oh.em.gee I need too! That river walk looks incredible. The whole trip looks incredible! I am glad you had so much fun and got to spend time with your mom and sister. So much fun! ❤

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    1. Oh my goodness that sounds like SOOOO much fun!!!!! I didn’t even know there was an Alamo half?!? Amazing! Thanks for telling me, Chelsea!! I am definitely keeping that in mind 🙂 Thanks for stopping by too, hope you are having a great start to your week!

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    1. She really is, Myra ! 🙂 I will pass that on to her! And it was just perfect family time.

      I definitely want to go to more Caverns!!! They were awesome. Not like anything I have ever seen before!! Which ones have you been to?! Or do you have a favorite?

      I hope you have a VERY Merry Christmas yourself 🙂 I look forward to see what yummy recipes you whip up!

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  7. Okay seriously why am I not surprised that your mom and sister are gorgeous too!!!!! And uh girl, even in your “basic” gear, you cant and wont ever be basic, you’re just too darn pretty! But omg I’m so excited for the 3 of you- that is the best surprise, how sweet of your mom to coordinate that for you guys!!! One of my coworkers used to live in San Antonio and raves about the river walk so for a while (and now more than ever after seeing your pictures) I’ve been torn between visiting Dallas and San Antonio. But now I just know I need to add them both to the list lol. The architecture and all the scenic things you guys saw ahh so visually stimulating, I love it. I’m literally wide eyed staring at every detail in every picture. I think I spent a good 20 minutes looking through it all lol The caverns look so cool inside, unlike anything Ive ever seen- I can only imagine how beautiful it was physically standing in there! Ah I cannot wait to read the next adventure! Don’t leave us hanging for too long! Have fun and be safe!!!

    xo, JJ

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    1. GURRRRRL. Why u gotta make my day e’eryday?!? Seriously the sweetest. I told my sister what you said, and she goes “Awwwwwww I like her!” hehe. I was blown away that my mom coordinated all this… she is like the energizer bunny, I tell ya what. And you most definitely could make a trip to both SA and Dallas in less than a week trip! And they are SO worth it. DJ and I have talked about moving here after Cali, and everytime I come here I consider it more! I’m so glad you enjoyed the photos ☺ Those are only like a ¼ of all the pics I took because there are so many cool sites/landmarks. It’s neat. And the pictures of the caverns do not even come close to doing justice!!! Thanks for reading, girlfriend. ❤ xoxoxooxo

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    1. Thanks, Lisa !!!!! If you get the chance go to the Caverns 🙂 They are VERY neat. And thank you! I love how welcoming everyone is here 🙂 My mom says, “Welcome to Texas” first thing when we see her! (She has adapted well 😉 ). Have a great rest of your week!

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    1. Hi Kristy!!!! She is so great, I am soooo thankful for her! I was truly blown away how she planned all this out. So memorable for sure. Have such a great rest of your week, Darlin’!

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  8. Loved it and specially the pics. What a charming place. Really would love to go there. Thanks for sharing.
    All the best wishes and Merry Christmas. Hope you have a great time and a very happy new year too. Stay blessed, beautiful one.

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    1. Thanks, Taylor!!!!! We had such a fun time, I have a hard time expressing just how much we enjoyed this trip. If you ever have the chance to go- you would love it. BUT you will be busy exploring Nashville!!!!!!! Woohooo! My sister and I were saying the next time we travel together we want to go there. & The Riverboat was such a long wait but SO worth it. We made friends with the people sitting around us too. The friendliest people live here! I hope you are having such a great week and the move is going well! xoxo

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  9. You have a very real talent for writing, my dear. I absolutely love your descriptions of the places you go. It actually makes me feel like I’m there, and that is really cool! Also gorgeous family!! Looks like it was a wonderful trip! I hope you have a perfect Christmas XOX

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    1. Thank you sweet Anna!!!!! ❤ I feel sooooo affirmed by that, I'm so glad you felt you were right there too. And THANK YOU for the additional kind words!!!!! I hope you have the best Christmas EVER, love! xoxo

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    1. It was just the most unexpected, endearing surprise- I still can’t get over how thoughtful she was with the whole thing!!!! Definitely add it to the list! The nice thing is you can make it a day or a day and a half trip and experience the big stops, and the energy is just fantastic. I hope you make it one day! Hope rest of your week is perfect followed by a beautiful Christmas 🙂

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    1. I truly feel sooo lucky to have her ❤ And it's insane how fluent my sister is, especially at her age. It blows me away! If you ever get the chance- San Antonio is a blast (but I know it is probably a bit far for ya 😉 ). Have a veryyyy Merry Christmas, Kat!!!! xoxo

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    1. It was truly a wonderful girls trip! I am leaving tomorrow, and I am dreading the thought of the three of us parting ways! But it makes the time we do have so very special. If you and your hubs do get a chance I HIGHLY recommend! So fun!!!! Hope you have a VERY Merry Christmas, Nikki!!!!! Thanks for reading 🙂 ❤

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  10. Wow!!!! Your mom is the best! What a surprise!! I loved all your outfits in all the pictures! I can’t believe you guys did so much stuff in just a short amount of time!! The pictures of all the places and things you girls did look incredible! 💕

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    1. Thanks, girl!!!! I so appreciate the kind words! I was shocked at how well she executed the whole thing! It was just such a trip for the books- thanks for sharing in it with us 🙂 And San Antonio is a fantastic place- highly recommend if you ever get the chance or are in the Texas area ! I hope you are doing so well, girlie. Merry Christmas!!!!!

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      1. Yes, we had a good time with friends. Today I cooked for 5 and a half hours. Then it took my husband 5 minutes to eat his, got up, and left me to eat mine on my own. 83, and not how he used to be 😦

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  11. Mack! Wow! Looks like you three packed in a lot in those 36 hours! Probably one of the most productive 36 hours I’ve seen. So glad that the three of you were able to have lots of fun – y’all look so beautiful!
    xo,
    Stephanie

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  12. Well, I officially want to visit San Antonio now! I love the bathroom picture–random, I know, but it really is gorgeous and so unique. And the view of the Riverwalk from inside the mall?! Unreal! Also, I love your sister’s name! Halston is such a unique name and your sister is beautiful, just like you and your mama!

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    1. Hey Allie! Yes! It is so worth the visit! Haha- I’m so glad you like that pic, I knew someone would appreciate it 😉 It was just so unique and pretty, especially just in the middle of a Mexican restaurant- I didn’t expect it! And thank you for the sweet words, girl! Yes- Halston is suppper unique. I forget just how different it is sometimes because I’m just so used to it! I hope you are having the BEST week ❤

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  13. Looks like y’all had a lot of fun! I’ve been to the Riverwalk and Alamo a few times, being from East Texas myself. My husband and I actually got engaged in San Antonio on a horse drawn carriage at night going over the bridge of the Riverwalk, so it will always hold a dear place in my heart! I have a few friends that have been there at Christmas time and one day I want to go myself, because the pictures always look so beautiful!

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    1. WHAT! You were engaged on the Riverwalk by horse drawn carriage?!?!?? OH MY GOODNESS! What a dream!!! Do you have any pictures anywhere on your blog of that night? That’s perfection! Hope you have a beautiful start to this New Year, Niki!!!!!!

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    1. Thank youuuuu! It was just a photography dream around there! I had so much fun snapping tons and tons and tons of pictures! These aren’t even probably half of them! And yessss such a fun place if you get the chance 🙂

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