Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Interview: Texifornian Blogger Shonda Gibson

This week I'm happy to share with you an interview with travel blogger and Texifornian Shonda Gibson.  Enjoy!

When did you live in Texas, When did you live in California, and have you lived any other places?
I lived in Texas as a child, but ended up in Indiana for high school.  After college and grad school took me to a few different states I ended up in California and now I am back in Texas for the last 3 years.  I feel like I am home again and I have even reconnected with some old friends.

Do you consider yourself more of a Texan or Californian, and why?
Texas is more "me".  It just feels like home.  Living here as a child probably set the tone for the rest of my life and that time period of my life was here in Texas. However, my daughter considers herself a SoCal girl... it's what she knows.

What's your favorite and least favorite thing about living in California?
My favorite thing about California are the active lifestyles.  My least favorite thing is the time it takes to get from one destination to another.

And what's your favorite and least favorite thing about living in Texas?
My favorite thing about Texas is the proud attitude of a true Texan.  It just shines through.  "I'm from Texas.  What country are you from?" I just love it.  My least favorite thing are the housing subdivisions.  It is not how I remember it.  Everything is now so close together and it's difficult to find a plush piece of land to go along with your property anymore. 

You have a website called Abundant Journeys. Tell me about it.
Abundant Journeys blog is a travel and lifestyle online magazine for the affluent traveler.  My love for travel spilled over into a wonderful lifestyle most people would define as a career.  Abundant Journeys blog is for the family who enjoys traveling together and traveling well.

Tell me about your favorite vacation spot in California?
My favorite vacation spot depends on my mood for the day.  Maybe it is a weekend on Catalina Island or a trip to Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara.  Or perhaps a winter weekend getaway to Indian Wells or down the coast to our home away from home in Rancho Santa Fe, favorites for me... well, I don't believe I truly have any. 

And what's your favorite spot to vacation in Texas?
For Texas, the same as California, it depends on my mood.  Heading down to Galveston for a Royal Caribbean cruise or Austin for some night life or out to Lake O the Pines for a summer stay, a vacation of any sort is my favorite. 

Read more travel advice by Shonda Gibson at Abundant Journeys.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Snow in Texas? What To Do In An Unexpected Snowstorm!

This post contains one affiliate link to Amazon so that I can use their picture of dish gloves cause I was too lazy to go take a picture myself.   I potentially could earn money from this, but really, who buys dish gloves online?

It's a beautiful warm sunny day here this afternoon, but I gather somewhere in Texas it snowed today.  I learned this reading a funny post on Insanity Rules about how you can know it's colder than usual here.    One thing she mentioned was having to go out and buy gloves, which reminded me of some past snows we've experienced here which we were utterly unprepared for.  And so I bring you...


TemStock - Santa's Hat

If you can't find any warm hats, try rummaging through your Christmas decorations.  A Santa hat will do in a pinch.  No Santa hats?  Baseball caps are better than nothing.

If you can't find gloves, several layers of socks work like mittens (although, like mittens, they become freezing soggy wet after being used to make a few snowballs).

Dish gloves, though not as warm, keep out the wet.  If you are willing to sacrifice a sock, you can cut off the end of the sock to make it fingerless/toeless, and layer it under a dish glove to keep the cold off your palm at least.

And yes, this is exactly how my kids were dressed one snowstorm in Texas.  We had real snow gear, but I couldn't find any of it.

How To De-Ice Your Car

Texifornian blogger A Dash of Sarah wrote another great post about the snow too...in which she mentioned her momentary panic at seeing her car covered in it. Having grown up in the California moutains, I know a thing or two about getting ice off a car...I was helping my mom de-ice the car before I could even drive. So, for those who've never had to do that...here's some tips:

  1. If the snow is nice and powdery its easy to brush off.  If it's wet those dish gloves may come in handy.  You only will have a problem if it's snow that's gotten wet and then frozen.  Then the tips below will help.
  2. If your car is covered in ice, it pays to sit in your car for a while with the engine running to warm it up--your car will drive better and it may make de-icing your car easier.  Or you can leave your car running while you set at trying to tackle the ice.
  3. If you don't have a car scraper, you can use a credit card to scrape frost off your window and rear-view mirrors.  A plastic spatula works too.   If it's a thick layor you may need to do some hacking (A credit card won't help too much here.  The edge of a plastic scraper is ideal--the edge of a hairbursh can sometimes work too.  Sometimes all it takes is a firm pound of your fist to break it up.  But if you're getting nowhere with these, refer to step 2.).
  4. DO NOT just clear off the window and drive with a big slab of ice on top of your roof...because at some point your car is going to warm up and it will start to melt and that big ole slab will either go crashing into the car behind you, or come crashing down your windshield when you stop, blocking your view.  
Now, if Texans are unprepared to dress for snow, they're even less prepared to drive in it.   But I'm not even going to attempt to explain that here (which involves things I've forgotton like which way to turn the wheel if you're caught in a skid).   But here's the short version:  Drive slow; don't break suddenly--pump you're breaks if you have to use them; and watch out for black ice, which just looks like water or nothing on the road.   Especially watch yourself on bridges and overpasses. Stay safe out there!  Enjoy the snow while it lasts!

(Thanks to Tamari 09 on flickr for the use of the santa hat.  I couldn't find the picture of my kiddo decked in a Santa hat in the snow so was very greatful for the substitute.  )

Shared on Throwback Thursday

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Texas Bloggers: Interview With Kendra Krebs of The Flower Hazard

Kendra Krebs is the blogger behind the blog The Flower Hazard.   I recently got the chance to interview her about her blog and her experience as a "Texas transplant" from Oregon. 

You're here in Texas now, but grew up in Oregon.  How did you find your way to Texas?
I moved here for a job in 2001, fell in love with the area, and fell in love with my hubby and have been here ever since! My parents now live here part time, so that's a blessing too!

What do you like best about living here, and what was the
hardest thing to get adjusted to? 
I love the heat!!! I was so cold in Oregon, and we didn't have good summers. The heat was hard to get used to, but now that I have I dread the cold!

What do you miss most about Oregon?
I miss the tall, tall green trees and mountains. I also miss being able to get to the mountains or to the coast within a few hours.  Texas is such a big state!

Now you live in Kyle, TX.  Tell me a little bit about your town. If I
was driving through, where would you suggest I stop to eat?  Are there
any other fun things you'd suggest doing while I was there?
Kyle is a small town, but is growing quickly. We are located just
south of Austin. One of our favorite restaurants is Bordeaux’s.  They have a wonderful menu, and even though it is fine dining, you can wear jeans and feel comfortable there. It’s our favorite special place to eat dinner.   Our biggest event in town during the year is the Kyle Fair and Music Festival.

Your blog is called The Flower Hazard.   How did you pick that name?
I'm a Flower Hazard, because, although I had a green thumb in Oregon,
I've had a hard time keeping plants alive and well in Texas! I love
gardening so I keep trying, but the weather doesn't always cooperate!

What's one of your favorite posts from your blog so far?
My favorite posts are the beginning of a series that I've started on Meal
Prepping. I've done two posts so far and have others planned to help
busy folks prepare healthy, delicious meals for the week in one prep

You write a lot about food and cooking on your blog.  In Texas we
have a lot of Tex-Mex and BBQ...is there a type of food distinctive to
where you grew up in Oregon?
In Oregon the Mexican food was more Baja style, instead of Gulf style like we have here in TX. Other than that, it was just plain old food! I love the food and varieties here in Texas, especially in the Austin area. It’s a culinary delight! The other major difference is tea is typically unsweetened in Oregon, and in
Texas you have to ask when ordering to make sure it’s not sweet!

The Flower Hazard Blog

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Texas and California Giveaways

Here's some giveaways that might be of interest to Texans and Californians.

Holiday Inn - Point for Hotel Stay (1/4)

Mom.com Austin Tickets (1/9)

Marriot Inn (1/18)

If you know of any giveaways for Texans, Californians or travel giveaways that could be used in Texas/California, please let me know and I'll include them here.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Wherever Wednesday

Welcome to This is Wherever Wednesday!  At Wherever Wednesday we share those little moments that really show the character of the places we live.   It started on Budget Blond and, after an intermission, restarted in November here.

If you're looking for ideas for this month's Wherever Wednesday, might I suggest sharing how you celebrated new years where you live!  I've found each place celebrates a little differently. I grew up on a boat in California, and the liveaboards always celebrated new years by blowing our fog horns at midnight!  It made quite a noise!  Here in Texas they celebrate the New Years by eating black eyed peas.  How do you celebrate new years where you live?

Or since this is a new year...you could post your favorite post about where you live or where you've been from the past year!

Or whatever you like.  Any post about place is great!  

 Other then mine (about how Texans see Californians) there was only one, a great post by Venessa Morgan with lots of beautiful pictures of Christmas Markets in Brussles!  I hope you'll all check it out if you missed it last month!

And please link up below with your "this is wherever" from this month!   If you're still a little uncertain what that means, this post over at Budget Blond will help you out--but don't worry, I'm pretty easy going about what can be posted, so long as it has something to do with someplace you live or have been!

Not required...but sharing a link to this linky helps spread the word. Thanks to all who post the button below!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

You Might Be a Texan If...

I stole some of these from Jeff Foxworthy...the green ones are my own, or at least significantly altered by me.  I'm NOT a Texan...just a Texifornian, so...well, just feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.  Feel free to suggest some of your own!

You might be a Texan if...

  • If someone in a Lowe's store offers you assistance and they don't work there. 
  • If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time.
(If you've ever worn shorts, a parka, and Sorels...you might be a California mountainer)
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  • If 'Vacation' means going anywhere south of Dallas for the weekend (DOES NOT apply to most Texifornians!)
  • If you've ever gone "offroading" on the median to escape a traffic jam.
  • If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once.
  • If you keep a gun to protect your house...but leave it unlocked.
  • If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph, you're going 85, and everybody's passing you (can I have an AMEN!)
  • If you think more than 2 inches is "a lot of snow.
  • If you have no idea how to drive on snow or ice.
  • If you find 60 degrees 'a little chilly,' 
(If you find 70 degrees 'a little chilly,' you might be a Texifornia)
  • If you don't see the problem with eating breaded friend vegetables with your breaded fried chicken.
  • If you're eating Black Eyed Peas today!  (Happy New Year!) 
If you actually understand these jokes, and share them with all your Texas friends, you definitely live in Texas .
I assumed by that last line that Jeff Foxworthy WANTED these passed on.  But if that's not the case, Mr. Foxworthy, just let me know I'll take them down.   
Masons Mama Blog