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Monday, July 6, 2015

EVENT RECAP: Freedom Over Texas 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015 - by Shalanda Turner · - 0 Comments

For the night of 4th of July, I headed to Houston's Freedom Over Texas celebration featuring country artists Josh Turner, and Clint Black. I love attending Freedom Over Texas, because I'm a big crowd type of girl. If big crowds aren't for you, then you probably want to avoid this event. To me there is nothing better than celebrating the birth of America with tons and tons of people.  This year I arrived a little later than I normally do. Normally I show up right at the beginning of everything at 4pm and make it all the way till 10, but with the added elements of my Go Houston Travel Bloggers Staycation, I was trying to fit everything into a very short amount of time. I received media passes to cover the event again this year, and took my friend Rico with me! He's never been to Freedom Over Texas, and I thought it would be cool to take someone who's never experienced it before. Normally I take my friend Val, but she headed to Jazz Fest in New Orleans this go around. Anyway, we even had a special parking spot for media, that had easy access to the festival. Once inside we walked around and hit up all the tents, and photo-op stops. 

There's lots to do at FOT from kids activities, to sponsor booths, food trucks, and concert stages. We made our way through all of the offerings before we headed to the big stage area to settle in for some country music and fireworks. First up with Josh Turner who sang a few songs from his new album. I'll admit, I'm not the biggest country fan, but after watching Nashville, I can sure tolerate it a bunch more, and Josh Turner's kind of cute, so that helped! Hahaha. After Josh, the M.C. Rebecca Spera introduced the headliner, Clint Black to the stage. Clint played for at least an hour or so! It was a chill night! Although it rained on and off earlier in the day, I was so happy that the rain held off for the nighttime 4th of July festivities. 

I really wanted one of these cool mugs, but the line was way too long!

I thought this group was super cute in their red, white, & blue!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

LLIS TRAVELS: 4th of July Staycation Part 1

Sunday, July 5, 2015 - by Shalanda Turner · - 3 Comments

Well, my 4th of July weekend ended up being more exciting than I expected.  Due to working a 9/80 schedule I had Thursday & Friday off for the holidays. I was originally planning to go out of town Thursday night and road-trip somewhere, but I decided to stay in town for what turned out to be a "not worth my time" decision, so on Friday I found myself kind of bored. I was trying to figure out something to do, when lo and behold, Lisa Carey called me and asked me if I wanted to participate in a "4th of July Edition Staycation" at the Hyatt Market Street & The Westin Memorial City hotels. You may remember that I participated in a staycation with her last July at the Hyatt Market Street Hotel, and I had so much fun, I definitely wanted to do it again! To check out all of our photos and social media happenings from this trip, please follow the hashtag #GoHouston on twitter and instagram!

After I accepted the offer, I jumped off the phone and tried to pack wasn't very quick, but I finally finished. Hyatt Market Street is located in The Woodlands, a very $$$$ neighborhood in Houston and basically an hour+ away from my house. I started the mini road-trip with some jammin' tunes and arrived Friday night around 5 pm to check-in. The Hyatt staff and valet team were nice as usual. The valet has in and out privileges and you can call from your hotel room for your car ahead of time, eliminating the extra wait time outside for your car.  The staff at the Hyatt left a welcome note for me along with some chocolates. The white chocolates were devoured within minutes.   After settling in, I headed down to the bar/pool area for happy hour drinks with Lisa, Brian, & Danielle. One of my favorite beverages from the Market Street Bar is their Strawberry Daiquiri, so I ordered a mini version of their regular size! The regular size is great, but the last time I was unable to finish it!  After my "mid-evening" cap, I called for my car to head to Hubbell & Hudson to check out their food! They were hosting all of us for dinner and to tell us more about their fast-casual dining experience (which I will share in a subsequent blog post). 

For this time around, we were booked in the suites, which were bigger than the regular rooms and included a full living room section.

I love that the hotel was ready for 4th of July. Each room number had the flags on them, and I've always enjoyed these accent lights on the hallway of the Hyatt.

The other cool thing about the Market Street Bar is that they host live bands every month! Sorry that the pictures a little blurry! I snapped it on the elevator. So even if you don't need to stay at the hotel, you can stop by and enjoy live music and a nightcap!

The next day I was up early to watch the 4th of July Parade that occurred right in front of the hotel.  After the parade I came in for brunch. The brunch was great! We were able to sample from the buffet and order items off of their menu. I started off with the buffet items, and then ordered a pancake.  I thought I only ordered 1 pancake, but two perfectly golden circles came out on the plate for me! When I went up for seconds on the eggs, because they were really stinkin' good, I was talking to the chef about them. He told me he just swapped out the bread pudding for the eggs, and then I was sad because I missed out on the bread pudding. He then proceeded to bring me some to try out! I literally had so much food Saturday for brunch that I didn't think I'd ever eat again! 

The pancakes were my favorite type of pancake. Light and fluffy and tasted like batter instead of grease. And then a little bonus from the chef, a sign of bread pudding!

These eggs were to die for! I loved them. I would literally travel back to the Hyatt for the Chef to make me these eggs! Yum!

Mid brunch Danielle and Lisa's kids wanted to do their makeup for the 4th of July and picked a nice comfy spot to do their makeup for the day's festivities. I admit that I was a little jealous that I wasn't having my makeup done! I love makeup, especially holiday makeup!



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