5 Best Wedding Locations in Texas

They don’t call the big and best “Texas-sized” for nothing.

Texas is a big state that doesn’t do anything half-hearted; it’s big on fun and carefree days, big on style and gentility. Texas is the gorgeous western locale with rolling hills, picturesque deserts, and dazzling cities that lets you be whatever you want to be. It’s the perfect place to host a wedding that you’ve been dreaming about—the wedding that’s all about you and your partner.

Texas Wedding
Image by jwilkinsonco

Of course with great size comes a multitude of wedding venue options. Texas is chock full of them, but corralled here are five of the best wedding locations in Texas, the ideal spots for your Texas-sized “I do’s”!

1. Chapel Dulcinea, Austin

If you’re planning a wedding in Austin, the lovely Chapel Dulcinea is the perfect way to mingle the historic and romantic. Named for Alonso’s dream love in Don Quixote, Chapel Dulcinea is a beautiful historic southwestern style chapel set amidst the desert’s uniquely gorgeous landscape. Romantic torchlight shines inside, where soothing sounds of falling water greet you, and the chapel bell announces your marriage for all to hear.

2. Hotel Contessa, San Antonia

Set in the midst of San Antonio’s historic district, and with views of the famous Riverwalk, Hotel Contessa still manages to feel like an oasis from the bustle and energy of the fabulous city. With its sophisticated style and excellent food, Hotel Contessa is the ideal spot for a luxurious wedding; evening receptions will look especially stunning with views of the city lights.

3. Villa Antonio, Austin

With breathtaking views of the lush surrounding landscape and the sparkling Lake Travis, Villa Antonio is a gorgeous and unique venue for a dreamy wedding. The Old World architecture gleams in the daytime sun and the chapel is a classically styled and intimate place to exchange vows. Once the sun goes down, the glittering night sky will dazzle the wedding party.

4. Old Glory Ranch, Wimberley

If you dream of having a good old fashioned Texas wedding with style, Old Glory Ranch is the perfect place to make that dream a reality. The beautifully landscaped grounds make an ideal setting for an outdoor wedding or reception beneath the big Texas sky, while the covered patio and Chapel Hall can accommodate weddings big or small, carefree or country chic.

5. Chateau Polonez, Houston

If you’ve always wanted a European wedding, you don’t need to fly your guests to the south of France. Chateau Polonez is a fabulous French-style chateau in Houston that has all the romance of its overseas counterparts. The stunning ballroom is bedecked with chandeliers, the dramatic double staircase is ideal for photographs, dressing chambers pamper the prepping bride and groom, and the surrounding five acres are beautifully landscaped and perfectly intimate.

Now that you’ve seen these fabulous Texas wedding spots, are you feeling inspired? Which one would be the ideal choice for your dream wedding?

Do you have another beautiful location in mind?

Erin Scribbles (last name is a pen name) is slightly obsessed with photography, weddings, and everything creative. She (sometimes) tweets, and you can follow her if you feel so inclined- Twitter.com/ErinScribblez

Pests I Have Encountered Abroad

Traveling into foreign countries will definitely bring you into contact with pests you might not have even realized were pests. This happened to me in South America several times and once in India.

Pests Abroad
Image by pestctr7 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/60228745@N02/)

The most common and unnerving pest encounter was while learning the value of high-end hotel rooms. When traveling abroad, it is worth the little bit more you pay to get a very nice room. In South America, my husband and I decided to save some money and try a middle-of-the-road less expensive hotel. As soon as we flipped on the light, there were tiny bugs running into all the cracks. So small and hard to see, the only reason we did see them, was because we surprised them with the light, and because there were so many, at first we thought the floor was moving.

South America is a very intense place to travel. Located near the equator, it is like going into a gigantic green-house. Everything there grows fast and big. This includes all the bugs. We saw a grasshopper that was two fingers thick and two index fingers long. And the kinds of pests are remarkable. In the Amazon jungle, there are mud dwelling teeny weeny bugs known as peeoons. I can’t spell it because I have never seen it written down. These almost microscopic bugs can get in between your toes, or burrow into your skin and then they begin to make nests under there that look like blister bubbles. They later hatch into disgusting teeny weeny bugs that stream out from under your skin. Yuk. Just think burning and itching. But magnified.

The Chameleons in South American Jungles are intensely common and wonderful. They will creep into clothing left laying on the floor, or sit basking lazily in the sun with one eye going one way and the other…well, you know.

One night while in a tiny village in the Amazon jungle we were dancing with some of the villagers in a ceremony in their church. Suddenly, up by the ceiling it looked like a giant rainbow light-filled bubble that was floating around yet it was obvious it was some sort of a bug, not a bubble. Clearly it had transparent, multi-colored laced wings. For quite a while I kept working to convince myself it was NOT a fairy. Finally, I saw one land. It was our friend the grasshopper! His usually folded translucent wings were huge, and when he tried to fly into the light near the ceiling of the church, he literally looked like a flying rainbow bubble.

In India it was the monkeys. We had already learned to stick to the nicest places. We learned to stay in fine hotels since they cost so little anyway, and we learned that monkeys can be robbers, teasers and beggars. India has a dryer heat than South America. This is why the bug and pest problem there was not quite as intense. Baboons there can be a little threatening; as can the cobras if you are unlucky enough to travel into places they are common. The jungles in India look like scrub hills from California; at least that’s what we thought. But the animals and the understanding of what dangers lay in those “jungles” need to be addressed clearly and with knowledgeable people if you want to travel in remote places in India without problems.

The best rule of thumb is to stick to where it feels clean. The dirtier a place feels in general, the more bugs and pests you will find. And not always right away! You may have to suddenly turn on a couple of lights, or leave a shirt lying on the floor for a while to find them.

The Constant Traveling Businessman’s List of What to Pack

Traveling for work can cause a variety of headaches and remembering what to pack is one of them. Because many men travel long distances for work on a daily basis, keeping a list of necessary things to pack is a must. The following list of must-pack items are essential for every business trip.

Facial Soap

Traveling businessman
Traveling businessman

If you don’t think your skin is as sensitive as a woman’s, you’re wrong. As a man, you must ensure that your face is clean and clear at all times, especially when conducting business.

Forgetting your facial soap can be a huge problem if you utilize a special type. Not every man can grab the free stuff from the hotel room and slather their face with it. Remembering soap is important, so add it to your list.

Shaving Cream

Similar to facial soap, the type of shaving cream you use greatly impacts the look of your skin. Some men may prefer cream that moisturizes while others may just use a standard brand that smells nice.

Most of the time, hotels and airlines will not provide a free can of shaving cream, but if they do, the cream won’t feel good to the touch. If you don’t want to experience unnecessary rashes, add shaving cream to your must-pack list.

Cell Phone Charger

Yes, cell phone chargers are one of the most important items that must be brought along on every business trip.

As a businessman, you are always on-the-go with likely little time to stop and whip out your laptop, so all businessmen carry a smartphone for just this reason. Don’t get stuck on a business trip with a dead smartphone and no way to charge it; you might miss that all important email or phone call.

Important Documents

Documents such as hotel reservations, car rental paperwork, airline itineraries and passports are all important to have, especially if you plan to travel overseas for business.

If possible, make backup copies of all documents, even your passport. Keep everything in a place that’s well-hidden yet easily accessible, because losing these items will cost you a lot of time and money.

Pills

Having enough medication when on a business trip is very important. If you are traveling to a location where you think that your pills may not be readily available to purchase, then take more than enough to last throughout your business trip.

Because pills are vital to your health and may be beneficial in emergency situations, they should be at the top of your must-pack list.

The Best Places around the World for Marathon Runners

There is no better way to test your fitness and mental strength than by entering a marathon, triathlon or similar event, and these are hugely popular all around the world. This means that there are some terrific ones to participate in which will no doubt be a brilliant experience, and you will even get to take in some of the beautiful surroundings whilst you are visiting too, making it a great travel experience. So, what are the best marathons to run in the world?

London Marathon

This event runs in April each year and is no doubt one of the best in the world, with a huge following and a party atmosphere, it makes it ideal for total beginners or seasoned pros. As you complete the course you will also get a great glimpse of some of the best sites in the capital.

London Marathon
London Marathonminor9th / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

New York City Marathon

Here you will find runners from all around the world, and this is because of the appeal that this marathon has. The course goes through 5 boroughs of New York and finishes in the legendary Central Park, making for some fantastic views en route. This is a must do for any runner and will be an incredible experience for you.

New York City Marathon
New York City MarathonMartineric / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Paris Marathon

If you want a way to see all of Paris’ beautiful sites in a short period of time then this is the way to do it, as the course just about manages to fit everything in around the city. During Spring as well, it makes for a picturesque setting and another great marathon to participate in.

Paris Marathon
Paris Marathongadl / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Berlin Marathon

Another beautiful city marathon which will show you everything that Berlin has to offer, with a brilliant atmosphere and an enthusiastic crowd to cheer you on. This is also a rare course in that it is almost entirely flat the entire way round, making it a real runner’s race.

Berlin Marathon
Berlin MarathonFoter.com / CC BY

These are just four of the best marathons to participate in around the world, but there are plenty more for those who want to test their fitness and participate in what is always a great event. With any marathon you will need the right clothing though, which is why you will need to visit a specialist store, like High Octane Sports, as places like this supply you with everything you need for a successful marathon, triathlon, bike ride or similar event.

Road Trip with The Kids – The Survival Guide

We all know the long drive in the car can be hell on earth when you have lively kids strapped in the back of the car but there are many ways that can help reduce the stress of your trip.  The constant barrage of “How much longer Daddy?”, “I’m bored” and “Are we there yet?” ringing in your ear for the next 200 miles is enough to send you round the twist.  Having done some pretty big road trips I hope I can share some ideas that I use and also some that have not worked for me but have worked for my friends.

travel with kids
Image by clappstar (http://www.flickr.com/photos/clappstar/)
  1. During the hot summer months it’s vital that your vehicle has air con as I find that the kids get much more restless.  Make sure you check that your air con is still working due to the fact in can leak gas during the winter and then let you down when you really need it.
  2. If your children are old enough I do a quiz for my kids to look out for certain things on the journey and then reward them with a prize halfway through the trip.
  3. Split the journey by stopping somewhere on route for lunch allowing the kids to have good run round tiring them out before the next leg of the trip.
  4. Try starting your trip at a time when the kids usually have a nap because putting them in the car them moment they wake in the morning will mean entertaining them for much longer.
  5. You can buy covers to protect your seats from all those horrible dirty footprints left by the kids on the back of your new leather seats.  Most of these contain pockets for filling with colouring materials, paper and anything else you think will keep them amused.
  6. Not for everyone but a DVD player strapped to the back of the front seats work well for an hour or so but they soon get bored with this tactic.
  7. Keep talking to the kids explaining where you are and what can be seen out of the window as they are more interested than you may think.
  8. Prepare lots of healthy snacks such as fruit as they will enjoy snacking whilst cruising along.
  9. If they like music burn a CD of some of their favourite tunes and theme songs so you can all sing along.  At 32 I still love some good old songs such as Dr. Hook
  10. Put a smaller version of their toy box at their feet so that they can get things out whilst you’re on the move.
  11. Make sure you have sun blinds or tinted windows for the kids as there is nothing worse than driving for miles with the sun shining full in your face.
  12. Whenever you do stop encourage the kids to try for the toilet as there is nothing worse than getting back in the car after lunch and then hearing ‘Mummy, I need a wee wee!”.

Jamie Anderson is a proud parent of 2, gadget freak, photographer and daddy blogger. Jamie has been managing his own blog for a few years now. James enjoys writing articles for mums to be and parents of young children and currently writes for Baby Planet who are a leading UK retailer of baby equipment including pushchairs, booster seats and nursery furniture