(map) Put some ho-ho-ho in your holidays! Take the kids (or wanna-be kids) to the Hill Country Galleria and get pictures of them with Santa. It’s free, and they even sweeten the deal with free lollipops and tote bags. Santa will be on-hand starting this weekend, then every day through December 24. Merry merry! (specific dates and times here)

Hill Country Galleria website

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(map) Today, Johnson City kicks off its 27th annual Lights Spectacular with fireworks, a parade, live music and more. Southern Living magazine featured this festival, which showcases 100,000 lights on the courthouse and one million lights at the Pedernales Electric Co-op. The magazine called it “the twinkliest drive in the US.” You really have to see it to believe it. Dozens of huge oaks surround the co-op’s headquarters in Johnson City, all wrapped in lights, with bulbs extending to the tips of the branches. Folks of all ages are welcome to come “ooh and ahh” the display every night through January 1. Bright idea, PEC!

Lights Spectacular website

Wishing health and happiness to everyone!

(map) In just a few years, the little town of Blanco has become the “Lavender Capital of Texas,” with several farms in the area now growing the fragrant herb. Next Friday, Saturday and Sunday is the annual festival celebrating all things lavender, and does it smell great! Three sides of the Old Blanco County Courthouse are surrounded by dozens of See More »

You crazy kids!

In: Stuff

13 Feb

My grandparents were supposed to get married on Valentine’s Day. The night before, he persuaded her to skip all the wedding hoopla and elope. Her mother didn’t speak to him for a couple of years. And so, their anniversary was always February 13th. For all of you celebrating romance on the 13th,

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Luvcakes

In: Eating

5 Feb

(map) This month, Hey Cupcake! launches their special Valentine’s Day cupcake. The Luvcake is a delectable confection of chocolate cake covered with fresh strawberry and cream-cheese frosting. A delicious way to show that special someone (or yourself!) how you feel. Available now through Valentine’s.

Hey Cupcakes! website

Super Platter

In: Eating

3 Feb

Score! My friend Wayne Johnson, aka “America’s Domestic Diva,” has really gone the extra yard(age) this time with this super-sized platter for friends gathered to watch the Big Game. This has to be one for the Guinness World Record Book. Watch a video of the platter assembly here.

Next Monday the 8th marks the beginning of the Chinese or Lunar New Year. According to the zodiac, 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. Celebrate by going to Pao’s Mandarin House and ordering off the secret Chinese menu (story here). Don’t worry, you’ve got plenty of time – the celebration lasts for 15 days!

Pao’s Mandarin House blog

It’s a tradition leading up to Mardi Gras (Tuesday, February 9): throw a King Cake party where everyone eats, drinks and makes merry. Whoever gets the piece of cake with the baby hidden inside buys the next cake. The authentic Cajuns at Stuffed Cajun Meat Market are baking fluffy and delicious king cakes complete with baby and Mardi Gras beads, $27.99-29.99. Stuffed’s variation introduces, naturally, stuffed cakes filled with Bavarian cream, lemon, cherries or cream cheese. Who dat say dey gonna eat dat cake?

Stuffed Cajun Meat Market website

Stuffed Cajun Meat Market & Specialty Foods on Urbanspoon

(map) The little town where “everybody’s somebody” hosts its 9th annual blues fest on Saturday, January 23. Headliners are Ray Wylie Hubbard and the Ben Beckendorf Band. Starting at noon, the festival will be a full day of nonstop music by Mac Arnold, Bill Reid, Mojo Assassins, and more. Beer, wine, barbecue and burgers will be available. Tickets, $30 each at the link below.

Luckenbach Blues Festival website

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