Things to See & Do In Brownwood, Texas

Brownwood, Texas — a small town two and a half hours Northwest of Austin that is full of hidden gems, incredible people, and tons of delicious eats. I was so excited to finally explore this cute town that I have heard so much about. I got to bring my best friend along and also got to spend some time with friends of mine that are locals, which was a huge blessing. Brownwood was honestly so fun to adventure in and surprised me with its quirkiness, charm, and photographable spots.

We stayed at The Hideout Golf Club & Resort, about ten minutes outside of the city, in a quaint cabin a short walking distance to the resort’s restaurant, The Hideout Grill. We grabbed a few drinks on the restaurant patio, enjoyed the view of the hill country and enjoyed listening to live music all evening. Note: they had the BEST queso I’ve had in a long, long time.



Steve’s Market and Deli: This eclectic deli felt SO much like Austin, with it’s quirky decor and incredibly kind owners — both are named Steve (one cooks while one is your server, it rules). We were craving healthy food and their Spurlock Club sandwich and Greek Salad satisfied every craving I had, and their black beans & saffron rice were as incredible as they claimed. In addition to the delicious food, there was something so special about a space that has owners that interact so intricately with their customers.

The Turtle Restaurant: Unfortunately, we weren’t in town long enough to try out their dinner and their extensive wine list, but we did get the chance to try out their brunch and let me tell you, their steak benedict is the best thing I’ve had in a LONG time. The owner, Mary, is so so knowledgeable about all things food and drink. This cute spot is located in downtown Brownwood, has a plethora of delicious menu items to choose from, and after your meal you can hop over to the Turtle Gelateria to grab some gelato.

Tr3s Leches: This authentic Mexican bakery serves up street tacos and breakfast burritos that are TO DIE FOR. We got one of each street taco and spent the entire time gawking at how good they were. The shrimp tacos were so so good, and they also serve mangonadas and a huge selection of fresh pastries.

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Runaway Train Café: This authentic train car was my absolute favorite spot in all of Brownwood. The burger was incredible (and so were the tots, of course, but you all know how I feel about tots), and the strawberry milkshake and toasted coconut sundae were as photogenic as they were tasty. We took so many fun photos here, and it truly gave off the comfortable, “feels like home” vibes that I wanted (and it felt like the diner from Riverdale, if you know, you know.) Now if we can just convince them to move the train car to Austin…

Studebaker’s Cafe & Grill: This old style cafe serves home-cooked food, including the loaded fry burger (pictured below) that is stuffed with french fries aka MY DREAM. We also got one of their delicious salads with fried chicken strips on top. Their menu is super diverse and has something for everyone, and the ambiance provides a true small town feel.

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Spirit of Texas Winery: I LOVED THIS PLACE SO MUCH—clearly putting this in all caps because I needed to be dramatic and really make a point here. The owners were two of the kindest people we met in Brownwood, and they took such pride in serving us their delicious wines. They have a huge patio with tons of seating, plenty of parking, and so many tasty wines to choose from. We truly enjoyed sitting at the counter and getting to try each different wine, all of which were incredible—we even loved their Republic Red blend so much we brought a bottle home with us. They also have their famous “I love you & wine so much” wall that is perfect for cute photos!

Pioneer Tap House: This cute tap house offers live music and food trucks, and has 23 Texas craft beers on tap — the largest of any spot in Brownwood. Pioneer Tap House is BYOF (bring your own food), so you can grab some food from Tr3s Leches across the street before having a couple of cold ones.

Teddy’s Brewhaus: This microbrewery is set to open in Brownwood this fall serving around 7 beers on tap. The space is named after Teddy Roosevelt and is decorated with historic memorabilia and flags that showcase all sorts of Texas history. The space is truly beautiful and will take you back in time with its decor and the bluetooth record players playin’ some old school tunes. They will have a large, kid-friendly patio space, a kitchen serving up all types of cuisine, and an artisan bakery.


Brownwood Murals:

Painted sunflowers located in Mayes Park: 910 Roanake Ave

I love you & wine so much: Spirit of Texas Winery

Cat and Fish mural, behind Steve’s Market & Deli: 110 E Chandler Street

Container painted with poppies - Davis Floral Parking Lot: 505 Fisk Ave

“Limited Coffee” distressed and faded brick sign: 305 Fisk Ave

Cactus mural, Rex’s Texas Lanes: 1101 Austin Ave

Texas flag wall, Waylon’s and Ray’s: 411 South Broadway


Brownwood, you were a complete surprise full of so many cute spots (who knew there would be so many colorful murals and photo ops) and I love you. I can’t wait to come back and explore again in the future—hopefully sooner rather than later!

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A Daycation in San Saba

Last weekend my best friend and I got to explore the Heart of Texas and stay in the cute town of San Saba — to say that we were pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. Also, San Saba is the Pecan Capital of the World — who knew! We stayed at the most adorable hotel, the Dofflemyer, and were in awe at the simple, but completely stunning rooms. There is not a concierge, so you receive a code for your room instead of keys, which cuts out the process of checking in at a front desk. For more information, or to book a room, click here.

Our favorite food spots were Gage’s BBQ, Oliver & Co. and Young’s Burritos & BBQ. The barbecue in San Saba was delicious and definitely not like the barbecue you get in Austin. It was flavorful, reasonably priced, and hearty in the best way. Oliver & Co. is connected to the lobby of the Dofflemyer, making it the perfect spot to grab breakfast and coffee after your stay. They have delicious pastries, quiche, and lots of tasty coffee options. Note: they stop serving breakfast at 10.

Here is a list of my favorite activities to do in San Saba:

Explore the charming town square — the buildings are beautiful and full of history.

Do a wine tasting at Old Man Scary Cellars and the Wedding Oak Winery. Both have incredibly cozy spaces, kind staff and very tasty wine.

Sample all of the fudge, jams, and coffee available at Alamo Pecan Coffee.

Grab a coconut milk latte at Oliver & Co with one of their many flavored syrups.

Buy some gifts for friends and family at San Saba Olive Oil Company, J.C. Campbell & Co. Mercantile, Harry’s Boots, San Saba Soap Company, and Madeleine & Me.

Take a drive to see the Wedding Oak Tree — it’s a beauty!

Note: If you happen to visit on a Friday night, go to a football game! We had a blast cheering on the Dillos and pretending to be locals (in a true Friday Night Lights fashion.)

Hats off to the cutest little Texas town in the top of the Texas Hill Country! Thanks for having us, San Saba!

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Why ZeroWater Is My Water Filter of Choice

Okay, call me naive all you want, but I had NO idea how many dissolved solids are in our water, because I live in Austin where the tap water is very much drinkable and typically tastes decent. However, there are compounds like minerals, salts and organic compounds that are dissolved into water through contact with rock and other surfaces. These dissolved solids can be things like calcium, magnesium, iron, sodium chloride and sulfides (which are compounds frequently found in groundwater supplies). Once I found this out, I went on a hunt to figure out just how many TDS (total dissolved solids) were in the water I drink on the daily.

 
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When I’m not just quickly grabbing water from the tap, I’m usually drinking water from the water filter in my fridge. A few weeks ago, if you had asked me what water filter I used, I would’ve told you that I had two big standard Brita filters currently in my fridge. Now if you asked me, I’d tell you I use a ZeroWater filter. Seriously, I threw away my Brita filters. 🤗

 

Why’d I make the change? 

  • ZeroWater has a 5 stage filter, while a standard Brita has a conventional 2 stage filter.

  • ZeroWater has an ion exchange filtration system while Brita is a carbon based filter.

  • The ZeroWater filter is NSF certified to remove lead and chromium, while a standard Brita filter is not.

  • The ZeroWater filter removes 99.6% of dissolved solids while a standard Brita only removes about half. (WHAT)


My ZeroWater filter came with a digital water tester to prove its statement of pure tasting water, as well as being NSF certified to reduce lead and chromium. Naturally, I tested Austin’s tap water, my friend’s built-in fridge filter, both of my standard Brita filters AND my brand new ZeroWater filter. You could definitely say I’m thorough. 🤷🏼‍♀️ The TDS digital readings were shocking, honestly. ZeroWater was the only filter that truly ‘zeroed’ out the water. The Brita water from their standard filter had a reading of 108, and Austin tap water had a reading of 138. 

August is National Water Quality Month, and while I consider myself someone who is VERY good at hydrating and drinking a lot of water, I really want to ensure that I am drinking the highest quality water possible — which is why I’ve partnered with ZeroWater (my new favorite water filter, seriously). I’ve made the choice to drink the highest quality and purest tasting water, which ZeroWater provides by removing virtually all the dissolved solids in my water. Knowing that I am consuming the purest tasting water, virtually free of all dissolved solids, makes ZeroWater the easy choice when it comes to water filtration systems. Please let me know if you have any questions at all or visit ZeroWater’s website for more information: https://www.zerowater.com/


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This post is sponsored by ZeroWater, but the opinions expressed here are my own.

25 Things To Do In Coastal Mississippi

Mississippi, you were a gem of a surprise! I had driven through Mississippi a handful of times, but honestly, never saw it as a travel destination. To say that my mind changed very quickly this past weekend would be an understatement. I had the privilege of going on a four day getaway to Coastal Mississippi with one of my best friends, as Sun Country Air now has direct flights from Austin into Gulfport/Biloxi. We were both amazed by how many things there were to do in the three Mississippi coastal counties, and by how incredibly kind down to their very core EVERY SINGLE PERSON we encountered was.


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To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.
— William Faulkner

OCEAN SPRINGS, MISSISSIPPI

The District Coffee Company: Located on Government Street in Downtown Ocean Springs, this picturesque coffee shop has tons of photo ops, plenty of seating, a cute wall mural, and DELICIOUS oat milk lattes with tons of flavor options.

The Wilbur Bar — The Roost Hotel: This speakeasy-inspired cocktail bar is quaint, but not too small, and has one of the best bourbon old fashioneds I’ve ever had. They have an extensive bourbon and wine selection. It was recently named by Architectural Digest as “The Most Beautifully Designed Bar in Mississippi.” We went to this bar twice because we loved it so much.

Tato-Nut Donut Shop: This donut shop is located in downtown Ocean Springs on Government Street, and serves some of the tastiest donuts I’ve ever had. The shop is quaint and is open until 5pm (which is rare for a donut shop to stay open throughout the day, I feel like.)

Bright-Eyed Brew Co.: This coffee shop may be small, but the coffee is mighty. The owners were so sweet, and generously gave us recommendations for other spots we needed to visit. Their honey cinnamon oat milk latte was out of this world. If I could go back to Coastal Mississippi for one thing, it would be for that iced latte. Also, the tile in this coffee shop is DREAMY.

Murky Waters BBQ: Murky Waters has multiple locations all around Mississippi. It is an old house built in the 1950s that lies in the middle of the famous Government Street. It features a beautiful square wooden bar and a large covered patio with an outdoor stage. It felt a lot like home, with live country music and delicious bbq — they had waffle fries and tbh they were a DELIGHT. Murky Waters was recommended to us by a surplus of locals and it definitely did not disappoint.

Mosaic Restaurant + Bar: We wanted somewhere to get drinks late at night, and were right next door to this spot. They had good whiskey, and lots of other alcohol options and snacks. There was live music all night which was fun, however, the only con was that it was fairly hard to talk to one another.

The Greenhouse on Porter: EASILY MY FAVORITE SPOT OF THE ENTIRE TRIP. This place is a bar located in a greenhouse, with an indoor area that serves biscuits and coffee. I felt more at home here than anywhere else in the state. Everyone that worked there was so kind, it was stunningly beautiful, the cocktails were delicious, and the owners are fairly Progressive which was truly refreshing. Note: there are Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. prints hung throughout the entire greenhouse that wonderful and available for purchase — I bought two.


BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI

Le Café Beignet: Le Cafe’ Beignet is by the Original Beignet Factory, serving New Orleans style beignets, New Orleans-inspired sandwiches and breakfast fare. The café is extremely charming and cute, and the beignets were, of course, yummy.

Jacked Up Coffee: This coffee shop was located around the corner from our hotel, and was super photogenic and had delicious tea options. (Sometimes ya girl just wants tea.) We took a ton of photos in here, naturally.

Mary Mahoney’s: I had so many people recommend this restaurant to me and 1000% see why. Mary Mahoney’s was upscale and elegant, but also incredibly welcoming. The restaurant is centered around one of the oldest homes in America, and has SO much history — They left the water line from Hurricane Katrina to aid in showing that part of the restaurant’s history. There is a New Orleans style courtyard that you can dine in, under the canopy of a centuries old live oak. Also, it was the best cup of gumbo I have ever had, hands down.

White Pillars: This is the only restaurant the entire trip that I didn’t get seafood, and honestly, it didn’t disappoint. The chef was kind, the space was beautiful, and the drinks were good. I got a steak and it was perfectly cooked, so like, that alone is reason to go there. (Plus, the space really is gorgeous and it has a large bar area as well if you are just looking for drinks.)

Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar: The fried catfish at Lucy’s was the best seafood I had the entire weekend. Beth and I actually ended up going there twice, once for lunch right when we arrived in Mississippi, and then that evening for drinks and live music. The bottom level of the giant restaurant is a bar featuring boats to sit in on the sand, tons of chairs to sit in and put your toes in the sand, and good live music. It was definitely our kind of place.

Lighthouse Pier: This sounds like exactly what it is. It is a beautiful, simple pier that jets out into the gulf — it has stunning views, is right by a pretty beach, and is very accessible to get to. It’s a simple spot, where it’s easy to take in everything the Mississippi coast has to offer.

McElroy’s Harbor House: This was another restaurant that came very highly recommended. It really exhibits a true, authentic beach vibe, with out of this world seafood, and stunning views of the marina/gulf. I got the popcorn shrimp and ate entirely too many, then took a brownie to go to eat in bed because, well, I’m a monster.

The White House Hotel: The only place with the title of “White House” that I will enter currently. 🙃 The property is beautiful and they recently renovated their bar and lobby, so it’s the perfect spot to grab drinks before dinner (or at any time really, because #coasttime). The White House Hotel was vacant for 30 years and survived Hurricane Katrina, which unfortunately is fairly rare for being as close to the beach as it is. In 2013, restoration began and was completed in 2014, with 76 rooms in the boutique hotel now available.


GULFPORT, MISSISSIPPI

Coast Roast Coffee + Tea: Okay, super important thing to note here if you love tea, THEY HAVE A MILLION DIFFERENT KINDS AND IT RULES. They have giant garage doors that they open when it’s nice out, super nice baristas, a great atmosphere, and are directly on your way to the airport. I worked there for a few hours before heading out of town and loved it.

Fishbone Alley: Located behind buildings on 14th Street in Downtown Gulfport, is the cutest dang alley I’ve ever seen. Now y’all know how much I love murals — Fishbone Alley was such a neat spot and such a cool way for local Gulfport artists to display beautiful, colorful murals. It is a photographers paradise.

Perks Coffee Shop + Cafe: I wouldn’t say that this spot is the most aesthetically pleasing coffee shop option, however, it had delicious breakfast sandwiches, kind staff and was very cozy.

Renée’s Fine Desserts + Coffee Bar: Everything at Reneé’s is locally sourced and very yummy, the branding is adorable and the humans were insanely kind. Need I say more?


Pass Christian Books: Located in Pass Christian, this bookstore and coffee shop is the cutest! Their coffee was on point, the shop was stunning with a patio view of the beach, and they served food as well. Plus, who DOESN’T want to peruse a bookstore while sippin’ some coffee?

Sea Level: Sea Level is tucked in a beachside cove located in the West Pass Christian Harbor — they are a beach cottage where you can dine at a picnic table under an umbrella, catch a beautiful sunset, watch dolphins play and relax by the palms enjoying a Gulf breeze. They also have 45 snoball flavors, which I think is important to share (because it is). We got dill pickle, naturally.

Mockingbird Cafe: Located in Old Town Bay St. Louis, Mockingbird Cafe serves a breakfast you will never forget. They are almost always busy, so be prepared to wait, but IT’S WORTH IT. Their coffee was delightful, and the cafe is very cute and inviting, with a mural that says “All Are Welcome Here.” Once you finish your meal, walk around Downtown Bay St. Louis, and up and down Main Street. Make sure to be on the lookout for the "Heavenly Carved Wooden Angels”, once beautiful live oaks that were damaged during Hurricane Katrina, are now works of art. Chainsaw sculptor, Dayle K. Lewis from Indiana transformed the tree trunks into “Angel Creations,” and they are located throughout the city.

Bozo’s Seafood Market + Deli: Located in Pascagoula, Bozo’s offers delicious menu options such as fresh fish, po'boys, crawfish, shrimp tacos and tasty land-lover options. They have a comfortable atmosphere, a lot of seating, and a patio with live music.

Gulf Coast Gator Ranch + Tours: Located in Moss Point, about 40 minutes away from our hotel in Biloxi, was easily the best thing we did our entire trip. The swamp boat tour was so so fun, Beth and I giggled and had a blast the entire time. We got to feed the alligators marshmallows (apparently that’s a thing, y’all, mental note) and even had the opportunity to hold a baby alligator. Did it almost pee on Beth? Yes. Did we love the little guy? Also yes. For more information visit: http://www.airboatswamptoursofmississippi.com/.

Thanks for having us, Coastal Mississippi! Catch ya later, alligator.

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An Unbelizeable Trip: Exploring Belize with Muy'Ono Resorts

I mean, surely you aren’t surprised that a Belize pun is in this blog title?

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Hello from Belize! I just got back from the most wonderful five day vacation in the beautiful country of Belize. I went with three other bloggers — two from Austin, and one from Nashville — and my handsome boyfriend. It was my first international flight ever — I have been to other countries before, but only on cruise ships, never via airplanes — and it was a million times less scary than I thought it would be. Everything was stunning, the people were incredibly kind, and the resorts were beautiful.

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If you have followed along with my travels thus far this year, then you have probably seen that I get travel anxiety (just the getting there and back part, of course.) This trip, however, was mostly anxiety-free regarding travel, which is bizarre as it was a bit of an ordeal to get to our destinations. We spent three nights at the beautiful Thatch Caye Resort, which is its own 11 acre island in Belize, located 9 miles off of the coast of Dangriga, about two miles from the Belize Barrier Reef. Our last two nights of the trip were spent at Copal Tree Lodge, located in the heart of the rainforest in Punta Gorda. Copal Tree Lodge is a proud member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. Both of these resorts are a part of Muy’Ono Hospitality, which surprisingly enough, is headquartered in Austin, and is the largest collection of independent hotels in Belize. Also, I think it’s important to share that both resorts were incredible about catering to our groups dietary restrictions. This is super rare, and was very comforting when traveling to another country.

Each resort is unique to its location, sustainable, and gives a portion of every reservation to programs that benefit communities throughout Belize and charities around the world. They are committed to sharing their privilege and serving others, and their guests are invited to contribute by donating $5 a night through their Commitment to Community initiative. Muy’Ono Resorts each automatically donate a portion of proceeds from each room night to select community and nonprofit organizations in Belize, but they give you the option to donate $5 per night, if you’d like to be involved in doing something good for the community. For more information on this, visit https://muyono.com/values.

Below I will be sharing which rooms we stayed in at each resort, the activities we participated in at each one, what I loved about each location and which one I considered my favorite.

THATCH CAYE RESORT

We stayed in a Premier Overwater Bungalow — it has a private deck with a hammock, air conditioning and 180° views of the water and neighboring islands. You have your choice of a king size bed or two twin size beds. These bungalows range from $250-$300 a night, however, if you include the all inclusive package (which I HIGHLY recommend for this resort) it will up the cost an additional $150 per person.

  • More information on what is included in the all inclusive package:

    • $150 per adult / $75 per child per night, children 5 & under are free

    • Three meals per day & a snack

    • Local alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages

    • Round-trip boat transfer to & from Dangriga

    • Marine reserve access fee

    • Exclusive use of our kayaks, paddle boards, snorkel gear, fishing poles & other non-motorized island toys

  • A la carte pricing if you choose not to participate in the all inclusive package:

    • Boat Transfer & Marine Reserve Fee: $230 per person, round trip

    • Breakfast: $25 per person

    • Lunch: $35 per person

    • Dinner: $55 per person

    • Drinks: $5-$15 per drink

    • Beach toys available for rent, rates vary

I do think it’s important to include that the Overwater Bungalows (or any room on the property) do NOT have wifi. For any type of internet connection, you must go to the overwater bar, the Starfish Bar, or the Coco Lounge, which is the main area. There, you will find the TV, coffee and wifi. The island is limited to 30 guests at a time, so you are provided with a one-of-a-kind vacation experience. If interested in staying at Thatch Caye Resort, you can BOOK HERE.

GETTING TO THATCH CAYE RESORT

ARRIVING AT THE BELIZE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: The Belize International Airport is a small airport in Belize City that provides excellent signage to help travelers get through customs and transfer to your in-country flight to Dangriga. When booking your international flight, you must be aware of your landing time for booking your commuter flight. The resort recommends arriving to Belize City no later than 3:45pm, as the last flight to Dangriga departs at 5:00pm.

TRANSFERRING TO THE DANGRIGA AIRSTRIP AND YOUR FINAL DESTINATION: You have a few choices on how to travel from Belize City to Dangriga, the closest town to Thatch Caye. You can take the Muy'Ono Explorer, which is $150 round trip, per person, and is a 3.5 hour tour in an air conditioned van throughout Belize with a welcome drink, tour guide, and refreshment/bathroom stops. You can also choose to take the 15 minute commuter flight down the coast of Belize to Dangriga — I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS OPTION — The flight is $195 round trip, per person. And honestly, after flying into Belize City, is the quicker option for only $45 more, plus the views are STUNNING. Muy’Ono can arrange your connecting flight for you. You can book your transfer online or email transfers@muy-ono.com.

As you arrive in Dangriga, a Muy’Ono guide will be waiting to pick you up to drive you to the dock at the Pelican for the boat pick up. From the dock, you will be whisked away on a 25 minute, 9 mile boat ride, from Dangriga to the island. The boat ride to and from the island is included in each package.

SUSTAINABILITY

Thatch Caye Resort believes in responsible eco-tourism and strives to minimize their impact on the environment. They are committed to protecting Belize's beautiful ecosystems and their biodiversity.

  • Aluminum water bottles are given to guests (infused water is available in the lobby and water coolers are available in each room) — they have banned single use plastic.

  • They use reusable “Toppawear” for the to go breakfast and lunches for the tour guide and guests — Goodbye to Styrofoam containers or trays! Additionally, they do not serve or use plastic straws. Instead, they use biodegradable macaroni sticks and GO GREEN corn based straws.

  • They compost any leftover food for fertilizer, use rainwater collectors as their water source, provide proper recycling, waste and compost trash cans throughout resort and are a solar and wind-powered island.

  • Thatch Caye educates all travelers to never walk the flats or touch the reef.

  • Each bathroom has a “You Make The Difference” sign: A towel hanging up means “I will use again.” and a towel on the floor means “Please exchange.” This helps to reduce water and chemical waste.

ACTIVITIES

Note: I am only including the activities we did ourselves, but there are many other options and activities you can participate in!

  • SNORKELING: Only minutes away from the Barrier Reef and boasting its own beautiful fringing reefs, Thatch Caye Resort has the advantage of being able to offer diving enthusiasts reef experiences with only short boat rides to some of the world’s best diving sites. We went snorkeling with our guide, Kimike, and had a blast. We saw nurse sharks, stingrays, and some of the most beautiful coral I’ve ever seen.

  • ISLAND CRAWL: Take a floating bar from Caye to Caye — Literally, you can have beer and wine on a boat, while you travel to Tobacco Caye, South Water Caye, Twin Caye and Bird Caye, the surrounding islands all around Thatch Caye. You get to learn about the history and culture of the Cayes in Belize, and have a few beers while you’re at it.

  • KAYAKS & STAND UP PADDLE BOARDS: Standup paddle boarding and kayaking on the turquoise water was dreamy — You are surrounded by shallow water, where you can explore the reef, and even meet stingrays, sea turtles and barracuda. We took photos in the clear blue water, and then noticed after the fact, that there were stingrays next to us SOS.

COPAL TREE LODGE

We stayed in one of their Signature Canopy Suites — There are four Signature Canopy Suites, perched above the jungle canopy at the very top of the lodge, that all share their own private infinity pool and offer stunning views from the Maya Mountains to the Caribbean Sea. These suites feature one king bed, an in-room sitting area, a private outdoor bathtub, exclusive use of the infinity pool, a day bed, complimentary wifi, and a spacious bathroom with a private walk-in shower (with floor-to-ceiling jungle views). The canopy suites all share their own separate wireless network — providing the canopy guests with quick speed internet for all of your wifi needs (ya girl needs wifi). The Signature Canopy Suites range from $445 a night, however, we did the Farm-to-Table all inclusive package which is $65 for ages 6-12 and $125 for ages 13 and up.

  • More information on what is included in the Farm-to-Table All Inclusive package:

    • Welcome drink

    • Three meals per day

    • Local alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages

    • Roundtrip road transfer from Punta Gorda airstrip

    • Exclusive use of gym, kayaks, mountain bikes & hiking trails

Located in the heart of the main lodge, the Copal Tree Rum Bar is a great place to relax and unwind at the end of each day. The central lounge is surrounded by cool shaded decks perched within the jungle canopy. There you will find complimentary wifi, a collection of culinary and botanical books, magazines and games for the occasional rainy day. The bar opens at 11am daily. The restaurant, the Garden Table, makes everything in house using ingredients grown by their farm team or locally sourced from nearby farmers. They have a menu of incredible options to choose from for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food here was INCREDIBLE and never left me hungry or dissatisfied. If interested in staying at Copal Tree Lodge, you can BOOK HERE.

GETTING TO COPAL TREE LODGE

ARRIVING AT THE BELIZE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: Belize International Airport is a small airport that provides excellent signage to help travelers get through customs and transfer to your in-country flight to Punta Gorda. At the point of entry, a passport and proof of return or onward ticket are required. When booking your international flight, please be aware of your landing time. For commuter flights, we recommend arriving to Belize City no later than 3:45pm, as the last flight to Punta Gorda departs at 4:25pm. You can book your commuter flight here!

TRANSFERRING TO THE PUNTA GORDA AIRSTRIP: Travelers will take a breathtaking (and I mean BREATHTAKING) 1 hour flight down the coast of Belize with a couple of short stops along the way. Punta Gorda is the last stop in southern Belize. Upon landing, travelers will be picked up by a Muy’Ono guide in an open air Land Cruiser for the 15 minute drive to Copal Tree Lodge. Transportation from the Punta Gorda Airstrip is included in the Farm-to-Table Package.

SUSTAINABILITY

  • The first certified organic farm in Belize is on property, producing 70% of the lodge's food. They are helping to save Belize’s indigenous cuisine, and the heirloom crops that define it, by growing native crops on their 3,000-acre organic farm. They also use sustainable, line caught fish and seasonal seafood purchased directly from local day boat fishermen.

  • Aluminum water bottles are given to each guest and 5 gallon water containers are in strategic locations for guest to refill their bottles, including one in each room.

  • Copal Tree has discontinued the use of plastic straws and are now using Bamboo Paper straws and biodegradable cups for to-go coffee. They also make furniture and building materials on site from their own wild fall or sustainably harvested wood.

  • They are building a global marketplace for Belizean made products through their chocolate, coffee and rum productions at Copal Tree Lodge. They also have the only certified organic distillery in Belize (there is very few of these in the world) that is fueled by biomass.

  • Copal Tree Lodge plant thousands of trees each year as part of an extensive agroforestry program that also supports local wildlife.

  • All of their wine and rum bottles are donated to the Earth Ship Organization, where the bottles are used to build houses (this can be seen on your way to Lubantuun Mayan Ruin)

  • Each bathroom has a “You Make The Difference” sign: A towel hanging up means “I will use again.” and a towel on the floor means “Please exchange.” This helps to reduce water and chemical waste.

ACTIVITIES

Note: I am only including the activities we did ourselves, but there are many other options and activities you can participate in! We were only there for two days, so we didn’t get to do it all, unfortunately, and there were quite a few options.

  • COPALLI RUM DISTILLERY: You get to tour the on-site distillery and have bartender Tim make you lots of delicious rum drinks featuring Copal Tree’s clean rum directly from the heart of the rainforest. Their organic single estate rum is made from three ingredients: sugar cane, canopy water and yeast. All ingredients are sourced directly from the farm on their property.

  • BEAN-TO-BAR CHOCOLATE WORKSHOP: After a tour of the Copal Tree Farm, you get the chance to see the entire process of the Lodge’s chocolate making — very literally from bean to bar. As someone who loves dark chocolate, it was so cool to see how they go from cacao nibs to full on chocolate bars.

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NOTE: Both of these resorts were completely incredible and I would go back to either of them RIGHT NOW if the opportunity presented itself. However, I definitely had a favorite, but this is purely based on my own personal preferences of what I enjoy and need in a vacation. *drumroll please* my favorite was COPAL TREE LODGE! Here’s why:

  • At Thatch Caye, the menu is preset. Every breakfast, lunch and dinner is made the exact same for everyone on the island. (They were incredibly accommodating to dietary restrictions, though, so some of our group had different items made for us by the wonderful chef) Whereas at Copal Tree, there is a menu of items you can choose from at each meal. That is much more my speed as I am a fairly picky eater, and I have a weird tummy, and all five of us got to order whatever sounded good to us each individually.

  • I hate to say it, but I LOVE WIFI. My entire job is on my phone, so for me to be able to go on trips like this, I need to ensure that I can still post on social media for my clients, and on my own accounts. Also, I love falling asleep to Netflix, sue me. Also, I love having a phone in my room to be able to call down to the front desk with questions. There wasn’t a phone in the bungalows at Thatch Caye (which mind you, is completely fine, as it is meant to be a secluded, remote vacation, so nothing is wrong with that, I just have my preferences.)

  • While Thatch Caye was stunning, and honestly, a dream location, I really loved having coffee (incredible coffee, like some of the best coffee I’ve ever had) ready to be made in the room. (Although, Chris brought me coffee every morning at Thatch Caye, the pour over in our room at Copal Tree was unmatched.)

  • I have been to a ton of beach locations in my day, so for me, it was fascinating to get to explore the Belizean rainforest — to hear the black howler monkeys at night, to look out over the canopy to see the stunning Maya Mountains, and to enjoy my morning coffee in a hammock on the worlds most beautiful patio.

  • The rum bar at Copal Tree had so many beverage options — they made me a rum old fashioned that was DELIGHTFUL and that I’m still thinking about to this day. The drinks at Thatch Caye were also great, but there were just less options there.

  • Last but not least, if you know me at all, you know how I feel about showers, and honestly, showering in a head-to-toe shower complete with UNREAL jungle views was a dream come true. (This may sound silly, but hey, we all have our things.) Also, DID YOU SEE THE PATIO BATHTUB?

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Cheers to the most beautiful vacation I’ve ever been on — to two incredible resorts, spending quality time with new friends, old friends, and the man I love, to lots of rum and delicious food and fun activities / excursions. If you’re interested in taking a trip to the stunning Belize, or have any questions at all about these two resorts, don’t hesitate to shoot me a comment / message / DM.

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AUSTIN HOTEL POOLS TO TAKE A DIP IN THIS SUMMER

Hi, friends! I am so excited to finally be doing this whole blog thing! I was always so worried that I didn’t have enough to say, or that my blog posts would get lost in a sea of other Austin-focused blog posts — but to hell with it, we’re goin’ for it! *blogger gal*


By popular demand (and by popular I mean like a few people requested this, so, ya know, v popular demand) I ~pooled~ together *pun intended* a list of Austin hotel pools you can purchase day passes at for a good ol’ Summer dip. I have personally been to each of these and 10/10 recommend any of them on a hot Summer day (or any day in Texas, really).

Austin Motel

Location: 1220 S. Congress Ave

  • $20 pool pass // half price on Sundays for $10

  • Hours: 8am — 10pm

  • Everyday — sold in person at the front desk, first come first serve — you can call ahead to ensure your spot, as the pool may occasionally be closed for a private event.

  • Has both a pool bar + courtyard bar 

  • No outside alcohol 

  • Bring your own towel

  • They have just introduced their new Splash Card — you can purchase one for $100 and it’s good for 10 swims.

Hotel Ella

Location: 1900 Rio Grande

  • $25 pool pass

  • Non-hotel guests: Monday — Thursday from 11am-5pm

  • Pool passes include valet parking, pool towel + entry to the pool and courtyard.

  • No outside food or beverage allowed. Poolside dining available for purchase, provided by Goodall's Kitchen.

  • Pool passes may be reserved up to one week in advance by emailing concierge@hotelella.com.

South Congress Hotel

Location: 1603 S. Congress Ave

  • $30 pool pass

  • Non-hotel guests: Monday — Thursday, 11am – 5pm through September 3rd

  • Each $30 pass includes: entry to the pool, pool bar + pool towels. 

  • No outside food or beverage allowed. Poolside dining available for purchase, provided by Café No Sé

  • Self-parking + valet service available.

  • Reservations available up to one week in advance. To book your pool day, email concierge@southcongresshotel.com your name, party size, and requested date + time.

W Austin’s Wet Deck 

Location: 200 Lavaca Street

  • $10 day passes 

  • Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays — Fridays

  • You can also access the Wet Deck with an appointment at Away Spa, or for free during happy hour starting at 5pm on weekdays. 

The LINE Austin

Location: 111 E Cesar Chavez St

  • $25 weekday pool pass 

  • Hours: 11 am to 10pm Monday — Thursday

  • Parking validation is included.

  • Pool passes are available for purchase at Dean’s One Trick Pony, one of the hotel’s restaurants.

  • You can purchase cocktails and food from Dean’s poolside all day long.

  • LAKESIDE INFINITY POOL. That’s all.

East Austin Hotel

Location: 1108 E. 6th Street

  • $25 weekly pool pass (excluding Fridays + Saturdays)

  • Hours: 11am — 7pm Monday through Thursday

  • On Sundays, their retro-themed (think 1960’s Palm Springs) Summer Swell pool parties are $30 + are from 2pm — 6pm through Labor Day. There will be live music (whether a DJ or a band) each Sunday + food + drink specials. Other activities + pop-ups will vary each weekend.

  • They have a poolside bar serving up delicious cocktails + food, as well as an upstairs bar called The Upside.

Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt 

Location: 605 Davis Street 

  • $35 weekday pool pass

  • Hours: Monday — Thursday 

  • Poolside bar is open from 11am – Sundown

The Wayback

Location: 9601 Bee Caves Road

  • $20 day pool pass

  • Hours: 11am to 6pm Tuesday — Friday

  • To make a reservation, call The Wayback at 512-520-9590.

Four Seasons Hotel Austin

Location: 98 San Jacinto Blvd

  • $60 day pool pass

  • Hours: 7am to 10pm Monday — Friday

  • A pool pass allows access to the pool, locker rooms, fitness center, eucalyptus steam rooms, towels + pool toys.

  • Free frozen grapes and mini popsicle cocktails are offered throughout the day. 

  • You can purchase your pool pass directly at the spa.

  • Valet parking included


Cheers to pools and cocktails and literally anything that helps with the Texas heat. Fingers crossed I run into some of y’all around town at these pools!

Note: You will most likely catch me at Hotel Ella, East Austin Hotel, or the LINE Hotel. Xo.

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