The Oasis on Lake Travis


A few weeks ago, I was in Austin for ILPC, the Texas academic journalism convention.

My boss took us to dinner at The Oasis on Lake Travis, the largest outdoor restaurant in the state.


The beautiful restaurant boasts three levels of wooden decks overlooking Lake Travis.


The sunset over the lake was beautiful. And the food was wonderful. My favorite part, though, was the frozen margarita. It hit the spot after a long day of traveling and work.


Such a great sight. If you’re ever in the area, you should definitely check it out:

6550 Comanche Trail, Austin, Texas 78732. You can also check them out on Facebook.

What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day?



Welcome Spring Carrot Cake

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I have the *perfect* spring dessert for you today!

When the folks over at the Cooking Club of America asked me to review one of their recipes, I knew this carrot cake was the one for me. I just loved the idea of adding crushed pineapple to the recipe. Genius!

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Swingin'…Just Swingin'…


Andy and Alex take River to the park all of the time. I’ve never seen a child who loves to go to the park as much as that little girl.

And her favorite thing to do? Swing.


She likes to swing high and fast. Andy pushes her and she just squeals with delight!


That is the face of a happy child.

What makes your kids happy?


Mine like to play fetch in the back yard… :p


Princess for a Day at the Renaissance Faire


This weekend, we headed to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, Texas.

Lately, River has been obsessed with princesses. She loves Beauty and the Beast and all you have to do to make her happy is tell her she looks like a princess.

So, we knew this would be the perfect treat for her!

Her mom did an awesome job of dressing her up in a princess costume. She braided her hair and River looked so beautiful.

River was so excited to go to the “fessival” to see the King and Queen. She wanted to dance with the King, she told us. It was so cute.

Our first stop once we arrived was by the face painting booth.


River was so excited to have her face painted. She sat so still and did a great job of letting the artist work her magic.


My favorite thing about it, though? The Nerd has this irrational fear of face paint. It totally weirds him out. And I may or may not enjoy seeing him squirm. I mean, come on! Face paint? Not clowns or bunnies? Face paint?



Once she was finished, River ran over to the mirror to get a better look at herself. She was so excited!


Isn’t she a doll?

After she was all prettied up, we headed browsed around the festival some more. River loved seeing everyone in their costumes.

We soon found a shop with crowns. Of course, no princess is complete without a crown.

She picked out this beautiful yellow crocheted crown with butterflies on it. So adorable!

Then, we headed off in search of a show or some food.

Along the way, we happened upon a shop with fairie wings. Once River saw them, she immediately headed that way. And how could we resist?


She picked out some blue ones. You know, to match her pink dress and yellow crown. So cute!

With her wings and crown, she was a full-fledged princess. She found another mirror and was dancing and twirling and admiring her outfit.


This was my favorite shot of the day. She has just the perfect princess pose!


And here she is dancing and having fun! Love it!


Next, we got to ride a camel! Err…River and Nanna got to ride a camel.


Don’t they look like they’re having fun?

It was such an awesome day, and I think River had a blast!

My favorite part of the day? The food!! Sausage on a stick and kettle corn. Y.U.M.

Have you ever been to a Renaissance Festival? What’s your favorite part?



The Very Best Camera…

…is the one you have with you.

Or so I’ve heard.

Tonight, when I synched my iPhone to my computer, some of my cell phone photos came up. And I laughed.

I had forgotten that I even took some of the photos on there.

It’s amazing… I spent thousands of dollars on a nice camera, and some of my favorite photos are ones that I didn’t lug out all the equipment for. I know they’re not award-winners or anything, but they remind me of pieces of my life.

So, I thought I’d share some of them with you. I hope they make you laugh. And I hope they make you pull out your cell phone and go through your old photos. Trust me, it’s worth it.


Beagle in a box! The Nerd thought it was funny to put Kaylee in the old TV box. She had the hardest time getting out!


It’s a baby! It’s a hat! It’s a… RIVER?? Yes! Back when she was just a young thing. Wasn’t she a cute baby?


And it’s River again! This is probably my favorite of the bunch. I just love how The Nerd looks *so* uncomfortable! And her blue eyes? Geez. I hope my kids are that gorgeous.


River and The Nerd again. They were playing in my car. He kept honking the horn and she would just laugh and laugh… so cute!


What is this, the River show? Apparently. I take lots of photos of this girl. LOTS.


And now, it’s Baby Eli! He’s gotten so big! And, of course, he has blue eyes!


Isn’t that just pathetic? This is the sight I leave to every morning. I have to get Kaylee out from under the bed or couch and she just lays there, begging me not to put her up.

And every morning, I have to say no to that sad puppy face.


Here’s The Nerd recently test driving a 2011 Chevy Camaro. Rwar.


Oh Georgie. Doesn’t he kind of look a bit…crazy…in this picture? His little toothy smile cracks me up!


More Baby Eli! And his daddy. He’s so cute.


And last, but not least, I present… the cover hog. She wraps herself up in the covers every *single* night. Silly pup.

I’d love to hear about your favorite cell phone pictures.

Thanks for looking!



More Chevy Fan Day Photos (with Jeff Gordon!)


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You may have seen my post last week with the video of my trip around the race track with Jeff Gordon. It was so much fun!

I’ve *finally* had a chance to go through all of my photos from that awesome day and edit them, so I wanted to share them with you!

I’ve been doing a lot of work with Chevy lately — they are such an amazing company. And I don’t just say that because I own (and love!) one of their cars.

In fact, they have a whole social community for women centered around their cars. We’ve had such fun chats on Twitter, and they share great tips on how to conserve gas and maintain your vehicle.

Seriously, if you’re not already, you *should* follow Chevy DFW on Twitter and “like” them on Facebook.

Now on to the photos!


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We first stopped by the Ride and Drive event for Chevy Fans. You had the chance to test drive one of their vehicles! Of course, The Nerd wanted to test drive the 2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible.


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I must say, it had a really nice view. Heh!


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I think Shannon from Milk and Cuddles needs a new ride. She looks *good* in that Camaro!

Then, we all had a chance to take a trip around the track with a Team Chevy driver. I had a blast with my driver, Shane from Oklahoma City. We got up to 100 mph… but the best was yet to come!


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We headed back to the clubhouse to eat lunch. Soon, we were joined by Jeff Gordon, who did a brief Q&A and autograph session.

When we arrived, we were each given a raffle ticket. The coordinators drew 10 random tickets to win a hot lap with Jeff Gordon.

The Nerd won! He’s so lucky. They let me come along for the ride, too.


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It was so neat to see Jeff pull up in a Chevy Camaro. I think it was a bit harder to drive with the top down, though! Not as aerodynamic as he’s used to, haha!


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Jeff looked really good coming out of that Camaro! He came over to talk to us, telling us that they asked him to keep it under 90 mph. Yeah, right, he told us.


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And he was true to his word! The Nerd said he saw the speedometer pass 130 mph. Eeee!

It was such a great day, and I had a blast.

I think The Nerd did, too.

Who’s your favorite race car driver? Or do you even follow NASCAR?



Chevy Fan Day With Jeff Gordon at Texas Motor Speedway

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Yesterday, the Nerd and I headed to Texas Motor Speedway for Chevy Fan Day, courtesy of Chevy DFW.

I had never been to a NASCAR event, and I’m still processing a lot of what we saw and experienced. I have TONS of photos to go through and edit (and share with you all!)

But the coolest things we got to do was go on a hot lap with Jeff Gordon. I took along my video camera so you could experience it, too.

It was so much fun! Jeff told us that they asked him to stay at or below 90 mph during the lap, but then he wouldn’t say how fast he was going. Naughty, naughty.

Luckily, The Nerd was sitting in the back seat with a clear view of the speedometer — he said it passed 130 mph.

Have you ever been to a NASCAR race? Who’s your favorite driver?

I promise more pics (and stories) soon! Protection Status