Cinnamon Shore, Mustang Island TX

My friend Kat & I recently had the opportunity to visit Cinnamon Shore, located on Mustang Island in Port Aransas Texas. The first thing that popped into my head when I thought of "Cinnamon Shore" is, this place has to be filled with all the sweetest things since it has a name like that! I honestly didn't know much about this place, since the last time I went to Port A was probably almost 10 years ago (Spring Break baby!) I did my research and immediately got super excited about this place. The property is beautiful and very well maintained, and they offer plenty of amenities to guests during their stay. 

We arrived around 2:30pm on a Saturday and we stayed both Saturday and Sunday night, giving us one full day to get a feel for this glorious place. Our first stop was reception to get our room key. We went to our room first to drop everything off and check it out. We fell in love. It was decorated perfectly and everything in it was top-notch. We needed to make our reservations for dinner so we made our way over to the Real Estate office. All the ladies were very helpful, and from there we hopped on a tour of the property with LT. She told us many things about Cinnamon shore, including how many people are actual owners and how many are renters. I was also curious about how long Cinnamon shore had been around, and she answered 10 years! I couldn't believe that I had never heard about this place! 

Town Center 

Town Center 

Once we were done with the tour, we headed back to our room to freshen up. On the tour LT had invited us to check out the Texas Monthly Gulf Coast Show Home, where they were having a happy hour. Did you say wine and a tour of a beautiful home? I'm in. We went to check out Lake Colby first though.

Take 1

Take 1

Take 2

Take 2

Lake Colby

Lake Colby

Texas Monthly Show Home

Texas Monthly Show Home

Master Bath Floors

Master Bath Floors

Loft bedroom on the 3rd floor

Loft bedroom on the 3rd floor

I could get ready every day in this 3rd floor loft 

I could get ready every day in this 3rd floor loft 

View from the 3rd floor balcony 

View from the 3rd floor balcony 

<3

<3

After the tour we went back to our room to change and get ready for dinner. We had 7pm reservations (this place gets booked fast and they aren't open on Sundays). We were super pumped to have some fresh seafood at Lisabella's. Kat got seafood enchiladas that were smothered in this creamy sauce with a hint of heat and it was absolutely delicious. Of course I went with pasta and got shrimp linguine in a butter sauce with tomatoes, basil, pancetta, and parmesan on top. SO GOOD. We decided to quickly go back to the room and make some drinks, grab the blanket, our cameras, some strawberries, and make our way back to the Town Center where a band was setting up to play some live music. We watched for an hour or 2 before heading back to our room for some needed R&R. 

Inside of Lisabellas

Inside of Lisabellas

Shrimp Linguine with tomatoes, pancetta, basil and parmesan

Shrimp Linguine with tomatoes, pancetta, basil and parmesan

Golden Hour feat. Kat in Town Center

Golden Hour feat. Kat in Town Center

Before

Before

After

After

The next morning we got up bright and early to try and see the sunrise. It was a bit cloudy that morning so it didn't really work out, but A for effort! We headed back to the room and I made some pancakes for us (thanks Guenther House!). We then got ready for our big day! We first went to the Infinity pool, which opened at 9am. We wanted to beat the crowd of kids so that we could take an insta-worthy pictures :) Then we went back to the room (notice how we keep going back and forth from and to the room?!) to grab some drinks and made our way to the other pool onsite, which is BYOB (the infinity pool doesn't allow outside drinks since it has a bar onsite). There was only one person there so we took some more pictures and then acted like maniacs with the GoPro. We were being so silly but it was so much fun. We laid out for a bit and then headed to the beach. You can have the front desk reserve beach chairs for you and they will set it all up and have it ready for you by whatever time you request. We only stayed out at the beach for an hour or 2 before heading back to the property. We were getting hungry so we went to the Seaside Cafe at Kiera Pool. Apparently their fish tacos were all the rage so I had to get them and OH MY GOSH THEY WERE SO GOOD. 

Morning vibes

Morning vibes

This view never got old

This view never got old

Kiera Pool&nbsp;

Kiera Pool 

Dune Pool (BYOB)

Dune Pool (BYOB)

Kat @ Dune Pool&nbsp;

Kat @ Dune Pool 

Kat @ Dune Pool pt. 2!

Kat @ Dune Pool pt. 2!

On our way to the beach!

On our way to the beach!

Fish tacos at Seaside Cafe

Fish tacos at Seaside Cafe

We were getting exhausted from our day and it was soooooo hot outside so we decided to take a break from the heat. We went back to our room and starting watching Sweet Home Oklahoma on Bravo. We-could-not-stop-watching. If you are a fan of trash tv aka anything on Bravo, I highly recommend this show. We pulled our butts off the comfortable couch and made some drinks and made our way to the Town Center to watch sunset. We walked around through the streets of Cinnamon shore and stopped by Lake Colby. Sunset at Lake Colby was phenomenal and we were probably there a good 20 minutes just taking it all in. We walked back to the room and showered, I made eggs for dinner (the kitchen in our room was to die for by the way), and plopped our butts back on the couch to finish watching Sweet Home Oklahoma (laugh out loud). 

Waiting for sunset

Waiting for sunset

Town Center

Town Center

Sundown at Lake Colby

Sundown at Lake Colby

The next morning, we packed all of our stuff and said goodbye to Cinnamon Shore. It was such a fun 2 days and I can totally see myself going back. Cinnamon Shore plans to have a grocery store, pizza shop, liquor store, and more by Spring Break of 2018. Their whole idea is to have as much as possible available to you so you basically never have to leave. I can completely support this idea. 

Recap on Cinnamon Shore and the amenities on site:

  • Dune Pool (9am-10pm everyday-BYOB)
  • CBar Cafe 
  • Dune Park
  • Kiera Pool (9am-10pm everyday)
  • Seaside Cafe (Open 11am-8pm)
  • Fitness Center located at Kiera Pool
  • Lake Gavin (Catch & release fishing is available)
  • Lake Colby 
  • Great Lawn (Where Smore's night is held)
  • Butterfly Park
  • Hummingbird Park
  • Lisabellas Bistro & Bar (Open Monday-Saturdays 5:30-9pm)
  • Wifi
  • Golf cart shuttle/ equipment rental- Rentals such as golf carts, beach chairs and umbrellas, bikes, and fishing poles with tackle boxes are available to rent through Cinnamon Shore. 
  • Pet-friendly units

Cinnamon Shore also has a calendar of events, which showcases the events going on at that time. For instance during the summer on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday they do Yoga on the beach at 8am. They also offer surf lessons, sand castle lessons, Kid's Camp, Smore's night, Live music, and Movie night. Make sure to ask for the calendar of events so you know what's going on while you visit!

Thanks for the hospitality Cinnamon Shore, hope to see you soon!

xo, Halee

Napa + Muir Woods

Our week long vacation started in Napa. We arrived in SF at about 8:15am, went to pick up our car, and on to Napa we went! Our first stop was Bouchon for some pastries where I finally met up with the infamous Emma K. Morris

After Bouchon, we went to The French Laundry (where we would be having dinner that night!), to check out the garden onsite. They try to use as much as they can from their garden in dishes, and at times they are using 95% of what they grow. 

We then had to hurry off to make our first tour & tasting at Schramsberg, which has been served at official state functions by every U.S. President since 1972. Bravo! 

After Schramsberg, we had to rush back to check into our Airbnb, get ready, and head over to The French Laundry for our reservation. I will posting a different blog post talking about my experience at TFL compared to my experience at Saison in San Francisco (both 3 Michelin stars). Stay tuned for that!

The next day we had two more tour & tastings booked, but we had to get one more meal in with Emma, before setting off. We met at this amazing local place called Alexis Baking Company or "ABC". I ordered the chilaquiles, which was amazing and such a large portion! Their iced chai was pretty spot on as well. We still had a bit of time before needing to leave, so we walked over to Oxbow Market after breakfast. 

Oh yeah! Before we went to Oxbow, Emma took us to this authentic Italian shop that only does to-go orders and the man that runs it is 95 years old and still working there (pictured talking to Emma). He created "malfatti" years ago, which is a cheese, spinach, and herb dumpling. Wish we had the time to stay and eat some of his delicious food, but off to Oxbow we went. 

IMG_7350.JPG
Malfatti

Malfatti

Next, we were on our way to Mayacamas Vineyards for our first tour/tasting of the day. When we arrived, I seriously and literally was in awe. The property was so beautiful and private. We were introduced to Cassandra, who gave us the tour, and who happens to be the daughter of McPherson Wine. Once we knew who she was and her being from Texas and all, we instantly bonded with her. The 3 of us hopped on an ATV and Cassandra showed us the land. She mentioned that Mayacamas owns roughly 475 acres and 50 or so is used for wine. The tour was breathtaking. We got to see so many different areas where they are making wine, learn about the struggles they have gone through and are still going through, and see so much beauty and nature. This was by far my favorite experience in Napa. 

Next stop, Cade! This place was stunning as well. The view was unbelievable and the tour in their "cave" was pretty impressive. We really did our homework when we picked these places. Both vineyards were relatively quiet and away from all the packed touristy vineyards like Cakebread and Lewis.   

After Cade, we headed to Gott's Roadside before making our way to Mill Valley for the night. Now this burger was off the chain. I will forever put a fried egg on my burger if I have the opportunity. Oh, and I can't forget about that Horchata milkshake! 

Okay, treehouse here we come!

This house FTW!

This house FTW!

We woke up bright and early after a quiet night in the woods. We grabbed some coffee for the road and headed to the Muir Woods. We were told to get there before 8am because it starts to get busy after that. 

Hello Muir Woods!

After ending our 2-3 hour hike, we noticed tour bus after tour bus as we headed to the parking lot. We really did go at the right time!

And that's a wrap for Napa + Muir Woods! Next blog post will be all about San Francisco, and the one to follow will be my experience at TFL vs. Saison! Stay tuned guys, and thanks for reading :)

 

-Halee

48 hours in Tucson

My mom asked me a week before, if I'd want to go with her to Tucson to surprise my Grandma who is living there. I was completely on board since I hadn't seen her in over 4 years, but I just needed to be back by Thursday evening because I had Friday morning orders. My mom got everything situated that week and the following Tuesday afternoon came. We met each other at the airport, went through security, and listed ourselves on standby (may I add that standby is the worst because your'e constantly stressed worrying about if you will make your flight. Yes it's free, but I'd rather pay and not worry. We almost didn't make 2 or 3 of our 4 flights.) After an hour or so of waiting, we finally started boarding and were making our way to Vegas. Our Vegas to Tucson flight was a little sketchy, but we had an amazing woman at the ticket counter who marked our passes XT, meaning extra time to board, and instead of boarding with C group, we got to board right after A. Well, my mom (who works for Southwest), didn't know what that meant, so ended up boarding with C anyway, ha! We were finally on our way to Tucson. 

We made it to Tucson, rushed down to pick up the car rental, and our first stop was In-N-Out. I hadn't eaten anything since lunch time and it was 6:30 in Tucson, which is 8:30 our time back home. Basically I was starving. Fun fact: the first time I ever had In-N-Out was in Arizona! 

Classic.

Classic.

Had to capture these two palm trees hugging each other as we left  In-N-Out.

Had to capture these two palm trees hugging each other as we left In-N-Out.

We also were lucky enough to see a glimpse of the sunset on our drive over to Grandma's.&nbsp;

We also were lucky enough to see a glimpse of the sunset on our drive over to Grandma's. 

We made our way over to Grandma's house to surprise her. We were going to wait until the morning since it was getting late, but we said screw it. We arrived in her community and parked in front of the house next to hers so that she wouldn't see us pull up. By this point it was about 7:15pm and the sun was going down. We weren't sure if she was in bed yet but we saw the lights on and the blinds closed. We quietly made our way to the door and knocked three times. I saw her peek her head around the blinds and she looked startled. She opened the door and her face was just dumbstruck. She looked like she had seen a ghost! (I wish I would have filmed this.) She couldn't believe we were there and she almost seemed confused, but ever so happy. We headed to the living room to sit down and chat and we ended up being there until 9pm (11pm TX time.) We decided to call it a day and told her we'd be back in the morning. We headed to our hotel, Casino Del Sol, which was only about 5 minutes from where my Grandma lives, and it just happens to have the most amazing photo worthy pool. 

We woke up early the next morning to get the day going. We stopped for a coffee and then headed straight to the pool to lounge in the sun, before heading over to Grandma's. 

Pool area at Casino Del Sol.&nbsp;

Pool area at Casino Del Sol. 

After basking in the sun for nearly an hour, it was time to go see Grandma. She told us she usually gets up at 6am every morning, so we knew she'd be waiting for us. We arrived bearing gifts-flowers, food, and our company of course. :) We spent the morning with her, and then went to lunch with her as well. She wanted Chinese, so we found a Chinese restaurant and that's where we ate! We came back and spent some time in her garden before heading out for a few hours. 

Grams &amp; I.&nbsp;

Grams & I. 

Favorite rooms in Grandma's house.&nbsp;

Favorite rooms in Grandma's house. 

After hanging out all morning, my mom and I decided to head to downtown Tucson. It's only about 10-15 minutes from Grandma's house so we weren't too far. We walked around a bit near 6th and 7th street, got a coffee at Exo Roast Co., popped into some galleries, and then to do some shopping. 

Painted glass reflection.&nbsp;

Painted glass reflection. 

Painted glass.

Painted glass.

Had to find the "Greetings from Tucson" wall, duh.&nbsp;

Had to find the "Greetings from Tucson" wall, duh. 

And had to jump in front of it, duh.&nbsp;

And had to jump in front of it, duh. 

Exo Roast Co.&nbsp;

Exo Roast Co. 

Exo Roast Co.&nbsp;

Exo Roast Co. 

Cactus everywhere!

Cactus everywhere!

The coolest little space.

The coolest little space.

There was a lot of street art and graffiti everywhere.&nbsp;

There was a lot of street art and graffiti everywhere. 

This was one of my favorites.&nbsp;

This was one of my favorites. 

After exploring a bit of downtown, we headed to do some shopping, where I found my new favorite dress that I recently wore to a wedding. We then went to Safeway to pick up some groceries so that we could make Grandma dinner. We made pasta and salad and she even had leftovers! I also brought some frozen PB cookies on the trip that we baked while we were there. After dinner, we wandered around her neighborhood during sunset (drink in hand). 

Sunsets + mountains.

Sunsets + mountains.

Blue on blue.&nbsp;

Blue on blue. 

After sunset, we hung out with Grams for another hour or 2 before heading back to the hotel. The next morning we were up bright and early. We left the hotel at 6am to head to Saguaro National Park for some fun. 

Cactus for days.

Cactus for days.

Seriously, this place was everything.&nbsp;

Seriously, this place was everything. 

Hi!

Hi!

We had this place to ourselves.&nbsp;

We had this place to ourselves. 

I think I took like 100 pictures of the same cactus.&nbsp;

I think I took like 100 pictures of the same cactus. 

Cactus cont.&nbsp;

Cactus cont. 

More cactus.&nbsp;

More cactus. 

Close up.&nbsp;

Close up. 

My favorite was the road against the desert.&nbsp;

My favorite was the road against the desert. 

Nothing but blue skies.&nbsp;

Nothing but blue skies. 

Doing my thang.&nbsp;

Doing my thang. 

Hello again!

Hello again!

&lt;3

<3

After spending over an hour exploring the park, we had more time to kill since my Grandma was at an appointment. We headed on over to the Mission San Xavier Del Bac. This place is only a few minutes from my Grandma's as well, and I've been before, but I wanted to go back for pictures. Plus, it's beautiful. 

After the Mission, we went to Goodwill, the grocery store, and back to Grandma's for a couple of hours before taking off. We got to chat with her one last time before having to leave. She told me so many stories about growing up during the Depression and what it was like then. I can't wait to go back and visit her again soon! 

Before setting off to the airport, we made a pitstop to get some chicken and waffles. We also finished our trip with a drive through the Sam Hughes Neighborhood, which is a National Historic District located in downtown Tucson near the University of Arizona. The homes here are absolutely stunning and begging for their pictures to be taken.  

Recap of my 48 hour trip to Tucson and everything we did:

1. Spent time with Grandma.

2. Gambled at the casino (totally failed to mention this).

3. Hung out by the pool.

4. Explored Downtown Tucson. 

5. Went to Saguaro National Park. 

6. Visited Mission San Xavier Del Bac.

7. Saw the sunset both nights we were there. 

8. Drove through Sam Hughes National Historic District. 

9. Ate chicken and waffles. 

10. Drank champagne and baked cookies. 

 

Thanks for reading! Until next time :)

-Halee

11 things to do on South Padre Island

1. Rent a house on the beach

If your budget allows you to do so, I highly recommend staying on the beach. We rented a place through SPI rentals, that had its own private pool/jacuzzi and walkway to the beach. We got up every morning to watch the sun rise, walked down to the beach to look for seashells, and came back to make breakfast. It was definitely more intimate and private. The address for SPI rentals is 2600 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597 and the phone number is 956-572-6656.

Private pool/jacuzzi and the view of the beach.

Private pool/jacuzzi and the view of the beach.

Private walkway shared with the rental next door.&nbsp;

Private walkway shared with the rental next door. 

2. Get up early to watch the sunrise

Sunrise was at 7:00 am when we visited in April. We got up every morning (except our last day because a cold front came in) to watch it. There's just something about a sunrise on the beach. 

Sunrise from our rental.&nbsp;

Sunrise from our rental. 

Sunrise on the beach in front of our rental.

Sunrise on the beach in front of our rental.

3. Watch the sun set

As much as I love a good sunrise, I love a good sunset just as much. The sunsets were incredible, especially if you're at dinner or enjoying a drink somewhere. 

Sunset while walking on Laguna Blvd.&nbsp;

Sunset while walking on Laguna Blvd. 

Sunset at Laguna BOB's.

Sunset at Laguna BOB's.

Sunset at the Painted Marlin Grille.

Sunset at the Painted Marlin Grille.

Sunset while riding bikes.&nbsp;

Sunset while riding bikes. 

4. Rent bikes

Preferably from Wheels on Padre. They are closed Monday and Tuesday, but we arrived on a Wednesday and stayed until Sunday, so it worked out in our favor. We looked around before finding this place and the prices were anywhere from $30 a day to $50 a day. We then found Wheels on Padre and he offered it to us for $20 a day. We then added another day and got another bike for my husband, and the owner only charged us $15 per bike for another day, instead of $20. The owner was super friendly, and recommended some things to see and do. Their address is 2500 Padre Boulevard Suite 1, South Padre Island, TX 78597 and their phone number is 956-299-4562. 

Posing with my trusty bike and some Oleanders.

Posing with my trusty bike and some Oleanders.

From above.&nbsp;

From above. 

5. Visit South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

This place is a must. Not only do you learn about and see a variety of birds and wildlife, but you get a good exercise at the same time! There is over 3300 linear feet of boardwalk to walk along and check out birds, plants, butterflies, and even alligators! Apparently there are about 10-15 alligators living there now, and the babies that were just born are the third generation. We spotted two baby gators when we visited, along with a blue crab, ducks and their babies, terrapins, and more. For more information about SPI Birding and Nature Center, their website is http://www.spibirding.com/.

IMG_5157.JPG
Baby gator peaking out from under the brush!

Baby gator peaking out from under the brush!

View from the 5th story.

View from the 5th story.

6. Visit Sea Turtle Inc. 

Again, this is a must, and right next to SPI Birding and Nature Center. This facility operates solely on donations and what is purchased through the gift shop. They are a nonprofit that doesn't receive any funding from the government. The donations they receive basically help keep this place intact and these turtles alive, while also teaching kids and adults about these magnificent creatures.  

When we visited, the staff were very friendly and let us know a little bit about how they worked. Each turtle tank has a binder that tells you about the turtle and its story (why it is there). Some turtles unfortunately are unable to go back into the wild due their injury or condition, but a lot of turtles are rehabilitated and released back into the water. If you are interested in going, their address is 6617 Padre Blvd. South Padre Island, TX 78597 and phone number is (956) 761-4511.

7. See the "White Sands" of SPI

Head north on State Park Rd 100/Ocean Blvd., past the convention center, until you reach SPI Adventure Park (about 7 miles). You will see the sand dunes along the way and as you continue on, you will see the sand start to make its way onto the road, almost making it impossible to drive forward. Up north near the Adventure Park, there aren't any hotels or places to stay. People come this way to usually camp or get away from the "hustle and bustle" of SPI. I'd recommend this place for sea shell hunting too. We found so many more sea shells than where we were staying, and there were so many different kinds and sizes. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. 

Having fun in the sun.

Having fun in the sun.

And in the sand.&nbsp;

And in the sand. 

So many shells!

So many shells!

Nothing for miles!

Nothing for miles!

I spy mama bear.&nbsp;

I spy mama bear. 

Posing for the camera.&nbsp;

Posing for the camera. 

8. Have a drink on the water

There are plenty of places to grab a drink and enjoy the salty air, fresh breeze, and sound of seagulls squawking. Every place we went was biking distance and most of the time we did bike there. Make sure to get there at least an hour before sunset if you want to get a good seat. 

Wanna Wanna, which was right next to where we were staying.&nbsp;

Wanna Wanna, which was right next to where we were staying. 

Painted Marlin Grille-currently the newest restaurant/bar on the island.&nbsp;

Painted Marlin Grille-currently the newest restaurant/bar on the island. 

The inside of Painted Marlin Grille.

The inside of Painted Marlin Grille.

Peach-guava Bellini from Painted Marlin Grille.&nbsp;

Peach-guava Bellini from Painted Marlin Grille. 

Laguna BOB's on Laguna Blvd.&nbsp;

Laguna BOB's on Laguna Blvd. 

Mango Pina Colada at Pier 19.&nbsp;

Mango Pina Colada at Pier 19. 

Pier 19, located on Padre Blvd.&nbsp;

Pier 19, located on Padre Blvd. 

Pier 19 boardwalk, before you get to "Hooker's bar" at the end of the pier.&nbsp;

Pier 19 boardwalk, before you get to "Hooker's bar" at the end of the pier. 

9. See some dolphins!

This was at the top of my list of attractions when we planned this SPI trip. When we were trying to find a place that did dolphin watches, we couldn't find any that did them in the morning. All of the reservations started at 11am or 1pm. We also couldn't find something that was more of a private tour rather than 50-100 people jammed onto a boat. I stumbled upon the Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center and saw that George and Scarlet offer a more intimate encounter with dolphins, and have been doing this for 18 years. They can only fit 6 people on the boat, making the experience better than I imagined. We were lucky enough to see what seemed like 20 dolphins, maybe more, the whole entire hour we were out on the water. George even answered questions that we had about the dolphins. And, he had his dog Gorgi on board who seemed to really enjoy being the dolphin whisperer. I highly recommend this if you are wanting to see dolphins. The address to the Nature center is 10 N Garcia St, South Padre Island, TX 78578. If you want to reach them by phone to book an appointment, the number is 956-299-1957, but you need to text instead of call. 

10. Explore Port Isabel

Port Isabel is just across Queen Isabella Causeway, coming from South Padre. Port Isabel has an HEB, Walmart, DQ, Wingstop, Subway, Pizza Hut, Whataburger, Church's, Dominos, Walgreens, and more. But, what you really should go see, is the area right off the bridge near the Lighthouse. There are beautiful and colorful shops, art galleries, and restaurants that are worth exploring. Plus, you have to stop at Los Cabos for a breakfast taco before heading back home, they are easily the size of your face, if not bigger. 

Davey Jones Ice Cream Locker.

Davey Jones Ice Cream Locker.

Will and Jack's Burger Shack and Beer Garden.

Will and Jack's Burger Shack and Beer Garden.

Nature's Creamery.

Nature's Creamery.

Shop next to Nature's Creamery/Burger Shack that sold different stones, rocks, necklaces, and more.&nbsp;

Shop next to Nature's Creamery/Burger Shack that sold different stones, rocks, necklaces, and more. 

Bean and cheese breakfast "taco" at Los Cabos.&nbsp;

Bean and cheese breakfast "taco" at Los Cabos. 

The inside!

The inside!

11. Eat Seafood!

Last but not least, eat all the seafood while visiting! Shrimp, crab, lobster, fish, and more shrimp! 

Shrimp three ways at Blackbeard's.&nbsp;

Shrimp three ways at Blackbeard's. 

Fried shrimp basket at Painted Marlin Grille.&nbsp;

Fried shrimp basket at Painted Marlin Grille. 

And that's a wrap! Hope you enjoyed my second blog post, since returning to the game. My next post may have something to do with Regina or shoes. Stay tuned!