Monat's Naturally Based Anti Aging Skincare Line

Monat just announced botanically and naturally based anti aging skincare. In the skincare world as we know it, those words don’t even all belong in the same sentence. You can either have naturally based or anti aging, but both… that just doesn’t happen…. until now.

And we sold $4 million worth in the first 36 hours it was available.

Monat is revolutionizing yet another industry with it’s wild idea that you can have naturally based products that actually work. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret, it’s actually working better than the #1 Skincare line (chemically based) in all of North America. I imagine we’ll hold that title within a few years, but without the chemicals. Just give it a minute to catch on.

Monat launched 2 clinically proven, dermatologist and ophthamologist approved anti aging routines to accommodate the most common skin types. They’re also botanically and naturally based, vegan, and cruelty free (insert mind blown emoji here). We have the Be Gentle Routine for sensitive and or dry skin and our Be Balanced Routine for normal/combination skin. Each routine comes with it’s own specific cleanser and moisturizer along with our Skin Revitalizing Essense and the Rewind Age Control Nectar. The Skin Revitalizing Essense is used in place of a toner, but it’s a water (but like water from the fountain of youth;). Basically is toner 2.0 and it’s simply patted onto the skin with your hands and not applied with a cotton ball (because that’s wasteful on so many levels). The Rewind Age Control Nectar is a serum that takes on uneven skin tone, loss of elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles, and transforms a dull-looking complexion for an instantly smoother and ageless version of you.

Sound too good to be true?

  • In clinical and perception tests the rewind age control serum was proven to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and expression lines in just 7 days.

  • 96% noticed tighter, smoother, healthier, more restored skin in 7 days.

  • 96% had improvement in skin smoothness after 7 days.

  • 87% had improvement in skin elasticity in 7 days.

  • 80% said skin immediately looks more youthful, brighter, and more radiant

Those numbers are insane, but they’re basically what the clinical and perception studies produced for all products in this line. This is truly the skincare line you’ve been looking for.

In addition to these 2 routines, Monat also released Eye Smooth and the Berry Refined Scrub.

these two products are sure to take your skincare routine to the next level and if you’ve been paying any attention at all, eye smooth has pretty much been single handedly changing people’s lives / under eyes on the daily since mid september.

Eye Smooth Targets…

  • Fine lines and wrinkles around eyes

  • Dark Circles

  • Puffiness, under-eye bags, and crow’s feet around the eye area

  • Dryness

A staggering 96% said the saw tighter skin and reduction in the appearance of wrinkles, crow’s feet, fine lines, and under-eye bags in just 28 days although most started experiencing these changes much sooner.

This scrub is an exfoliator and masque in one and targets dullness, uneven skin tone and texture, and large prominent pores. Use is as a scrub or leave it on for a 5 minutes or so for it to double as a masque. Scrub gently though because this isn’t made with perfectly round tiny plastic microbeads that are bad for the environment. We use cranberry seeds instead.

  • 96% noticed skin instantly looked fresher and more radiant

  • 96% said skin immediately felt softer and smoother

  • 82% noticed skin visibly looker clearer and brighter

  • 88% said pores looked more refined after one use

  • Proven 24 Hours of Hydration

  • Clinicals show 81% showed improvement in skin’s texture after one use

My Results in Just 7 Days

I’ve been using the Be Balanced Routine along with the Eye Smooth and Berry Refined Scrub for a week and a half now and so far I’m impressed. The results I’ve seen in just one week are better than the results I saw in almost 2 years of using the #1 Skincare line in North America (the chemically one that your friend probably sells that I mentioned before). In that time I’m brighter, my skin tone is more even and moisturized, my pore appear smaller, and I feel much smoother. I kind of even look like I’ve slept sometime over the last 7 years (I asuure you I haven’t) which is pretty cool too. See my 7 day before and after below.

MONAT HAS A 30 DAY MONEY BACK EMPTY BOTTLE GUARANTEE

I’d suggest grabbing a sample of the skincare from the link below because the sample itself is free and you just pay shipping, but it makes more sense just to put that shipping cost towards your new skincare line and try it for 30 days instead of just 1 time. If you don’t love it on the morning of the 30th day, we call customer service and we send it back. You get all of your money back. And our customer service department is amazing. They truly want everyone’s experience to be a great one and the work their little tails off for it. So just order it. But just in case you get all warm and fuzzy using samples…

What else you need to know about monat’s skincare line and how to get it

There’s NO SPF! Okay I know that’s not what you’re used to seeing, but let me explain because there is a great reason for everything Monat does. SPF should be applied last and separately from all other steps of your skincare routine. Everything Monat has created for us is intended to go deep down into the skin and nourish/heal. That’s exactly what you want it to do. SPF is intended to act as a barrier between your skin and harmful UV rays. You simply can’t combine anti aging goodness and SPF together into one product and expect either thing to be able to do the job you need it to do. You just can’t. Hopefully Monat will come up with a kick ass way to make an awesome naturally based SPF, but until then you’ll just have to use an SPF not made by Monat.

In what order do I use all the things? My morning routine is Be Balanced Foamy Cleanser, Skin Revitalizing Essense, Eye Smooth, Be Balanced Moisturizer. My evening routine is Be Balanced Foamy Cleanser, Skin Revitalizing Essense, Rewind Age Control Nectar, Be Balanced Moisturizer. When it’s time for the Berry Refined Scrub (1-2 times a week), I use it immediate after cleansing and before the Skin Revitalizing Essense.

Can I use the Rewind Age Control Nectar as part of my morining routine? The short answer is no because it’s got so much vitamin C that it’ll make you a bit photosensitive. However if you are a person that uses a retinoid at night, then you would use this in the morning. Just make sure you are using go sun protection and definitely always consult with your dermatologist if you are prescribed a retinoid.

When should you start using an anti aging skincare line? When you want to start keeping the skin you’re in so like your 20s. That doesn’t me it too late for us other folk, it just means we have more of an up hill battle to loving the skin we’re in.

Can pregnant people use this skincare line? I’m going to default to always talk to you doctor about what you’re using when pregnant. That being said, you should be able to use the line in it’s entirety while pregnant as there are no known adverse effects to using while pregnant (the other chemically brand can’t say that).

How do you become a VIP and what does that mean? A VIP pays a one time enrollment fee of $19.99 and is a VIP for life once they complete their initial order and 2 flexships. VIP Perks include 15% off retail, free shipping on flexship orders of $84 or more, a free Only for You product valued at $25 in each flexship, access to flash sales, a $25 birthday coupon to use in your birthday month, and eligibility to participate in the refer a friend program (where you and your friend each get $20 towards a future order when they become a VIP with your unique link). Learn more about becoming a VIP by clicking the botton below.

You can also buy as a retail customer or as a Market Partner. Every type of customer can take advantage of our Purchase + discount everyday. The more you spend the more you save. This discount is on top of the VIP or MP discount, but can also be used by retail customers. It’s like a flash sale 24/7.

Take the Beauty Quiz to find your perfect hair or skin routine…

Need Help? Email me at monatwithmonicajo@gmail.com

How I Said F You to Fear and Started Finding My Confidence: The 5 Second Rule Review

Full Disclosure: The Amazon link in this blog post is an affiliate link and any purchases made as a result of clicking that link may mean a small commission for me at no additional cost to you. Also I’m not that A hole who throws a ton of affiliate links out there hoping to make a buck. I actually like the stuff I recommend so THANK YOU, if you click and purchase.

Oh man I don’t even know where to start with all of this. I’ve posted about Monat before because I was that person to joined a direct sales company thinking I was going to make a few blog posts and things were just going to explode and I was going to be making all this money selling something that I absolutely 100% love, but that’s not exactly what happened. I didn’t really sell much of anything at all actually and I wasn’t confident in myself enough to even mention this company and it’s products to people I know and thought could benefit (which is basically everyone by the way).

What if I’m bugging them?

What if they don’t want to be my friend anymore because I shared this shampoo with them?

What if I feel like I’m not good enough to sell this to them?

What if they unfollow me?

What if I’m not qualified to sell it even though I’ve had results?

What if people literally just don’t care about my product?

The “what if” list can go on forever, but every single what if on that list was a what if produced from fear. In hindsight it was a pretty freaking stupid list.

Why was I holding myself back? Did I really believe all that stuff? I don’t see all the successful Market Partners living in fear and destructive what ifs.

What if I didn’t buy into all those what ifs? But then I still didn’t really know how to change my way of thinking.

I kept coming back to this idea of working the Monat business, selling these product that I know are truly revolutionary in the hair care industry. I’d kind of explore it a tiny bit, maybe post to my Instagram stories, but I definitely wasn’t taking it serious. Not totally anyway.

In one of these moments where I came back around to it, I decided to actually sit in on one of those zoom calls you hear about in direct sales. What would it hurt? It was one for new Market Partners or Market Partners like me that came in, didn’t do anything, and now want in on this opportunity. This upline talked for just a second about Mel Robbin’s five second rule and something about that intrigued me and I couldn’t let it stop there. In a nutshell the rule is counting down from 5 when negativity or fear keeps us from acting on an instinct that we know is right or this the thing that will push us forward and then when we get to one, we move our bodies in the direction of doing the thing before all that fear finds time to settle in our brains and keep us from doing it.

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I googled it and came across Mel Robbins book called The 5 Second Rule and I decided what the hell, I’m just going to do this. The next day I stopped by my local Half Price Books. They were out of it. The employee offered to get it in for me, but it would take 10 days. I had a super vague idea of what the 5 second rule was and I thought, nope it’ll come and go before 10 days is up, so I drove a little further to Barnes and Noble and picked it up. Even my Amazon Prime 2 day free shipping wasn’t going to be fast enough for me on this one. It was now or never… or a lot later down the road anyway. I had to grab this moment before it was gone.

And to be honest, as much as I want to be at home with my kids, I’m tired of not pulling my weight financially in my family (not that I have to, but I want to), but I’m also really just not made for a traditional job. I know this opportunity can work. I know I can make as much and more than I made when I drove to a traditional job so why not put my head down and get after it.

Since starting and finishing The 5 Second Rule (technically I finished it yesterday), I’ve used the rule to quiet my negativity and push through moments of fear in order to share this thing I love with the people around me. It’s a little early to say if I’m going to be super successful in the business, but the point is that this rule has allowed me to get out of my own way and make progress towards a goal instead of just dreaming about it. I’ve made more sales in the last week than I did in the entire year and half prior. Even if it doesn’t add up to much, I’m pretty freaking proud of that. And you know what? So far only 3 of the people I’ve reached out to have ignored me and it turns out I’m actually okay with that. To me that says more about where they are with things and less about where I am with things. I’ve heard no, gotten some excuses, but more than anything people have been kind and received it well, even if now is not the time. I’m slowly working through the fear, but my confidence is already better than it was a couple weeks ago.

If fear and a lack of self confidence is holding you back from something you want personally or professionally, I’m recommending this book to you. It’s not like all those other personal development books you read. Have you ever noticed most of them are inspiration, but with no clear way to actually get out of your own way? It doesn’t make them bad by any means. I love some of those books and the message they send. The thing about The 5 Second Rule is that Mel gives you an actionable thing to do to change your behavior and that, my friend, is key.

So, if you do want to pick up this book from Amazon, I’d click the Buy on Amazon button over there and add it to your cart. Ready?

5… 4… 3… 2... 1... and go click it.

You see what I did there?

An Unposed Session at Padre Island National Seashore

It’s been a quiet year in terms of photography for me.

Probably none of this seems immediately related to these photos so sorry about that.

I’ve been over here playing around with different ideas (not photography related), trying to figure out what my path is. I still don’t know what that path is, if I’m being honest and I’m still over here dabbling in it all.

I didn’t want to put pressure on this thing that I loved. I was afraid it would turn into something I didn’t want, if I kept doing that this year and that thought terrified me. I already saw my spark fading as I got caught up in the drama and BS related to social media and I retreated hard and fast and with that I backed off from everything photography related including photographing my own kids. I’m hoping all of that was necessary and is fulfilling some purpose for my furture self.

Social media is hard. It’s funny because I probably fall into the same category I always have in everything in life. Not quite cool enough for the mainstream kids, but not outcast enough for the outcasts. I’m just stuck somewhere in the middle without belonging anywhere. This is probably a little bit my fault because it’s no secret to myself that I don’t commit enough to people to really belong in a community. I hold myself back for fear of judgement. It’s rare anyone actually gets to see me all the way, which is why Tyler is probably pretty much the only person who sees it all.

What if I’m not who they thought I was? What if I disappoint them? It’s less stress (or so it sometimes seems) to just do it all on my own. This thinking is wrong, right? Is it imposter syndrome that makes me feel this way maybe? Why do I even care what “they” think to begin with? I know better, but I’m still here in this place.

I don’t really know what the purpose of all of this is other than it just feels good to talk about it. Maybe others feel the same and now they know they’re not alone. Maybe it just makes me make more sense to people. I don’t know.

I know this session is the first time I picked up my camera to do this kind of thing in a long time. I had a vision and I was nervous it was going to just bomb and I’d come away with nothing. The first probably 30 minutes felt like that actually. I had to let go in a lot of ways. Once I just decided to let my kids be free and occasionally prompt them into things that would bring joy, it got good. I let Saida get in the waves fully clothed because it felt like freedom and we needed that. Mostly this is just them and me there to see it for what it was and document it the way I knew I could.

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A Week At Padre Balli RV Park in Corpus Christi Texas

Padre Balli Park in the Camper

I cannot express to you how good it actually felt to be in our camper again. It had definitely been way too long since we’d made a trip (3 months). I let it slide though because I knew we’d be staying for a week this time and I have a certain amount of nights I insist we spend in the camper each year to make paying the price worth our while.

This wasn’t really a traditional camping trip for us. It was one of those situations where the camper is basically a condo on wheels and an affordable way for us spend an entire week at the beach. We showered regularly, went souvenir shopping, ate some dinners out at restraunts, and civilization was at our doorstep… or close enough (Thank goodness because we needed it to be on Thursday night).


Why We Chose Padre Balli Park For This Trip

Morning walk on the beach before the crowds showed up

Morning walk on the beach before the crowds showed up

The main reason we chose Padre Balli Park was for the proximity to people we were going to the beach with. Yes there are nicer RV parks within 30 minutes of where we stayed, but those parks weren’t a 5 minute car ride to the family we were spending time with at the beach. Also we knew we weren’t going to spend a lot of time at the park so paying a higher price for one of those other nicer parks just didn’t make any sense. My parents ended up tagging on to the end of this vacation so we did end up driving 15-20 minutes each way to hang at the beach in front of their beach rental too, but we still weren’t hanging out at the RV Park so paying the price for a “nicer” one just didn’t make sense. In this way Padre Balli Park definitely seemed like a good choice.


My Thoughts on Padre Balli Park

Pros:

  • Park is on the Beach

  • There is a restaurant and gift shop on the fishing pier at the park

  • Easy drive to Dollar General, Gas Stations, and Restaurants

  • 50 Amp area is new

  • Shower Houses and Laundry onsite

  • Full Hookups in 50 AMP area

  • Concrete pads in new section

  • Friendly staff

  • Affordable (we paid $275 for an entire week in the 50 AMP area with full hookups and it’s on the beach. The 30 AMP area is $150 a week and doesn’t have sewer. There is a dump station.)

Cons:

  • No pool

  • Basic sites (not too close together, but not too far and zero landscaping)

  • Quiet hours not enforced and people like to party. Thank goodness for AC units being so loud.

  • Old 30 AMP area is run down and cramped (pot hole parking lot with hookups)

  • The beach at the park is very crowded

  • Lots of trash left behind on beach and at the campsites and the park doesn’t seem to prioritize cleaning it up.

Notes:

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They do things a little differently than most. They don’t actually take any payments from you until you show up. When you call to book, you get a reservation confirmation number and that’s basically it. Write it down and hang on to it. You don’t hear from them again until about a week before your trip when they call to confirm your stay. It was my first time experiencing this and it honestly made me a little nervous that we might not have somewhere to stay when it was time to show up. Fortunately that wasn’t the case. They seemed to have it together in this department.

Would I stay at Padre Balli Park again?

Yes, absolutely. We definitely want to try out Gulf Waters sometime in the future too, but we want to do that when we plan to stay there and not rush off each day to go see other people staying in other places. When we pay the price to stay at Gulf Waters, we want to take advantage of their scenery, pool, and easy access to a beach that’s clean and beautiful. Padre Balli Park is absolutely a great go to for situations similar to this trip we just had. And honestly, if you’re not a little beach spoiled like me and you want to save a few dollars, Padre Balli Park is really a great choice even if you plan on taking advantage of the beach without driving elsewhere.

The highlighted site is site 16 which is the site we stayed in.

The highlighted site is site 16 which is the site we stayed in.


What I Learned on This Trip

More than I was prepared to learn, that’s what. But seriously though, Tyler had to go back to work for a couple days so we spent night 2 with just me and the kids in the camper. I was laying in bed about 10 PM that night thinking it had all gone so smoothly without him when the power goes out in the camper. It’s July in Texas and I like AC. Saida is already passed out and Corbin is making every excuse to stay up just a little longer, but I finally have him laying down in Tyler’s spot in my bed when this all goes down. I check to make sure we didn’t trip the breaker, but the entire Park is out. Turns out a transformer blew and the estimated time of restoration is 3 AM. YES 3 AM. If we don’t get the generator going, we’re going to be hot as hell and lose the food in the fridge and we’re one of the lucky ones with a generator. Unfortunately there isn’t any gas in it so that means I’m hauling kids out of bed at 10:30 at night to go buy gas cans and gas so we can get through these next few hours in comfort. All of these things were new for me, but a momma’s gotta do what a momma’s got to do and I wanted AC for my kids and to save the milk I just bought for them that evening.

Once the transformer was fixed, they blew another one and the new estimated time of restoration was 5 AM. I didn’t buy that much gas so I dropped us down to 1 of 3 ACs and everyone still managed to sleep comfortably. Power was back on by 3 AM anyway and we still had enough gas to get us through another power outage (this time for the entire island) that happend a couple days later.

We’re buying a nice gas can and taking some with us on every trip going forward for situations like this. The other option is our camper does have a fuel station and we could keep some gas in there with a stabilizer to make it last a little longer. And I’m happy to say I now know how to start the generator and keep things going when things don’t go as expected.

I really hate to wake sleeping kids, but they did an awesome job hanging with me and holding the flashlight while I filled the generator.


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Places We Ate

Snoopy’s

13313 South Padre Island Drive

Corpus Christi, TX78418

A family favorite on Padre Island at the JFK Causeway. We’ve been going here for years and fish is always fried to perfection and the view is great. The secret is out though so go early or be prepared to wait in line to order.

A La Mode Gelateria

14254 S Padre Island Dr Ste 101

Corpus Christi, Texas 78418

Our friends introduced us to this place. It’s also on Padre Island and Saida and Tyler are obsessed with the banana pudding gelato. The staff is super friendly and welcoming and it’s definitely a new tradition for us.

La Playa Mexican grille

222 Beach Ave.

Port Aransas, TX 78373

Cash only in Port Aransas and this one isn’t a secret anymore either. The restaurant itself is super tiny so there is almost always a wait and then we show up with 16 people. I love it here because they actually know how to make a fish taco. I love cheese, but you don’t put cheese on fish tacos, you don’t put fruit salsa on fish tacos (IMO), and you don’t use flour tortillas on fish tacos. They do none of those things, thank goodness.

Brooklyn Pie Co.

15326 S Padre Island

Corpus Christi, TX 78418

We were first timers here. I wanted to just walk over to Mikel Mays on the pier at Padre Balli Park the night it was just me and the kids, but Saida insisted on Pizza and we had seen this place just up the road at the next stop light. We ordered their large cheese pizza, went and roamed around at ACE Hardware for about 15 minutes and then came back to pick up our pizza to go. The kids loved it and it came with one of those little plastic barbie tables… I mean pizza savers… which the kids have never seen before and Saida is excited to use it as a barbie table (as it was obviously meant to be).


Favorite Camping Hack of the Trip

I stole this hack idea from one of the RV Camping Facebook pages I’m on. As soon as I saw it I was on Amazon ordering these suction cup hooks to hang our beach towels and swimsuits on the outside of the camper. It was a great solution for not having to bring our wet and sandy towels into the camper.

Disclaimer: The link to Amazon below is an affiliate link. If you purhase from Amazon after clicking this link, I will receive a super teeny tiny commission at no additional cost to you. Also if you purchase these after clicking this link, THANK YOU! You doing this allows me to keep creating quality content for my readers and I think that’s pretty awesome.


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Drink of the Trip

Overall this trip was a family success, just not without drama because who would even know what that looks like. Lots of margaritas were had; spicy grapefruit ones. Click below to see the recipe I found on Pinterest. They were delicious. and I used lime juice from a bottle, HEB’s Rio Red Grapefruit juice, Espolon Silver tequila, and didn’t bother with garnish because we were taking it out to the beach.


Pictures From Our Trip Because I’m a Photographer

On Mustang Island near my parents’ beach rental

On Mustang Island near my parents’ beach rental

Mustang Island

Mustang Island

Mustang Island near my parents’ beach rental

Mustang Island near my parents’ beach rental

That’s how I feel about ice cream too. Shout out HEB.

That’s how I feel about ice cream too. Shout out HEB.

Iphone Picture edited with Lightroom Mobile @ Padre Balli Park

Iphone Picture edited with Lightroom Mobile @ Padre Balli Park

Iphone photo unedited @ Port Aransas, Texas

Iphone photo unedited @ Port Aransas, Texas

Iphone Photo edited with Lightroom Mobile @ DQ in Pleasanton on the way home

Iphone Photo edited with Lightroom Mobile @ DQ in Pleasanton on the way home


Share with Me

As usual I have no idea how to wrap all of this up. That was all kind of random, but that’s just kind of our life right now so… it is what it is.

Feel free to share your favorite restaurants in the area in the comments, tell me where you’ve found fish tacos that don’t suck, or let me know if you tried that margarita recipe. Seriously they are so delicious, especially if you’re into spicy alcoholic beverages.

Happy Camping,

Monica

60+ RV Parks & Resorts on the Texas Coast

My three favorite things currently are camping with my family, Texas, and the beach… and coffee… and wine… and tacos (not necessarily in that order).

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So naturally when we got our RV, I wanted to know where all the beach RV parks are in all of my favorite Coastal Texas towns and bonus points if they are family friendly (I mean like not the 55+ parks) and were near tacos. I didn’t really know how to go about figuring all of this out and figured most newbies, like me, are probably a little lost and let’s face it, it’s nice when someone can kind of simplify it for us because… mom life.

With the help of AllStays.com, I was able to put together a pretty extensive list of RV parks in Texas along the Coast. I’m not saying they’re all amazing (some really are fantastic), but they’re here and they range anywhere from “welp, there’s nowhere else to stay and I really want to go to the beach for 4th of July and it’s in 2 weeks” to “This place is freaking awesome and I’m never leaving”. Minimum requirements were water, electricity, and either sewer hookups or a dump station and tacos close by (just kidding about that last one. I’ll just make my own, but if you have a killer recommendation for fish tacos, please leave it in the comments). If it didn’t have those things, it for sure didn’t make the list. I like to camp, but I also like the comforts of home and am totally cool if my camper basically functions as a beach house on wheels when at the coast. I personally don’t need to boondock nor do I yearn to do so. To each their own. Maybe one day when my kids are older we’ll give it a try.

This list includes some basic amenities for each Park/Resort. Some of these places (a lot of them actually) have much more than what is listed here. For example; clubhouses, splash pads, playgrounds, laundry rooms, bath houses, walking trails, restaurants, boat launches, fishing piers, etc.. You’ll be able to click to visit their website for a full list of amenities and of course to book your stay when you find a winner. You’ll find over 60 total RV parks/resorts to choose from in Kemah, Galveston, Freeport, Bolivar, Matagorda, Aransas Pass, Rockport, Port Aransas, Corpus Christi, and South Padre Island and more (organized from northern most area to southern most area). Yes, this took me a good long while to put together and I’m happy it gets to get used by more than just me. And I’m happy that when you decide you want to go to the coast last minute on a holiday weekend that you’ll have a place to go desperately look for RV parks with availability. You’re welcome.

Side note: Can you even say, read, or type you’re welcome without thinking of Dwayne Johnson? if you could, I probably just ruined it. You’re Welcome.

Kemah RV Resorts

Home to the Kemah Boardwalk and less than 20 minutes to the Space Center. Kemah is on my RV camping bucket list.

Brickhouse RV Resort

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1029 Marina Bay Drive
Kemah, Texas 77565
(281) 334-0333

http://brickhouservresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Wifi in Business Center

  • Cabins available for rent

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Marina Bay RV Resort

925 Marina Bay Drive
Kemah, Texas 77565
(281) 334-9944
http://www.marinabayrvresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Lake Front

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Dog Walking Areas

  • Cabins Available for Rent


Bolivar Peninsula

Just a short ferry ride from Galveston and you’re only agenda is to relax or maybe pick up a fishing pole or a beer.

Paula’s Vinyard RV

1250 N Crystal Beach Rd
Port Bolivar, TX 77650
(409) 684-9970
https://paulasvineyard.com

  • Full Hookups

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Lazy Pelican

996 Sea Spray Dr.
P.O. Box 1396
Crystal Beach, TX 77650
409.684.9909
http://lazypelicanrvpark.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Short walk to beach

  • Wifi

Bolivar RV Resort and Storage

731 Hwy 87
Gilchrist, TX 77617
(409) 974-0064
http://www.bolivarrvresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Beach Access

  • Bay Access

  • Wifi

  • Beach Home Available to Rent

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REEL Paradise RV

1123 North Rd.
Crystal Beach, TX 77650
409-502-7909
http://reelparadiservpark.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Bay Access

  • Covered RV sites with boat lift

Lazy D&D RV

681 Hwy 87
Crystal Beach, TX 77650
409-684-1900
http://lazydanddrvresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Bay Access

  • Wifi

  • Satellite TV

  • Waterfront Canal Site

Stingaree RV

1295 N. Stingaree Rd
Crystal Beach, Texas 77650
409-684-2731
https://www.stingaree.com/RV-Park

  • Full Hookups

  • Bay Access

  • Canal Sites with Boat Tie Ups

Beach Side RV Park

1280 Hwy. 87
Crystal Beach, TX 77650
409-996-3288
http://www.beachsidervandstorage.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Short Walk to Beach


Galveston / Freeport

The place rich in history with a little something for everyone and home of some of the most upscale beach RV resorts along the Texas coast. The beaches aren’t known for their beauty in town, but head west just a little ways and the beaches become quite charming and quaint. This is one of my favorite places in all of Texas.

Visit https://www.galveston.com to see all Galveston has to offer.

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Galveston Island State Park

14901 FM 3005
Galveston, TX 77554
(409) 737-1222
https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/galveston-island

  • Water/Electric Sites

  • Dump Station

  • Beach Access

  • Bay Access

  • Waterfront Sites Available

  • Note: Beach side of park is getting ready to undergo a 3 year renovations during which the entire beach side of the park will be closed and only sites on the bay side will be available.

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Galveston Island RV Resort

23700 Termini-San Luis Pass Rd
Galveston, TX 77554
(409) 200-2745
https://galvestonrv.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Short Walk/Drive to Beach

  • On site cottages

  • Dog Park

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Jamaica Beach RV

17200 Termini-San Luis Pass Rd
Galveston, Texas 77554
(409)-632-0200
https://www.jbrv.net

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool with swim up bar / Lazy River

  • Beach access across the street

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Dog Park

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Stella Mare RV Resort

3418 Stella Mare Ln
Galveston,TX77554
(409) 632-7017
https://www.stellamarervresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool / Tiki Bar

  • Beach access across the street

  • Dog park

  • Homes available to rent

  • Wifi

Dellanera RV

10901 Termini San Luis Pass Rd
Galveston, TX 77554
(409) 797-5102
https://www.galvestonbeachinfo.com/Dellanera_RV_Park.asp

  • Full Hookups

  • On the Beach

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Galveston RV Resort and Marina

6310 Heards Lane
Galveston, TX 77551
888-744-2837
http://galvestonrvresortandmarina.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Bay Access / Marina

  • Wifi

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Sandpiper RV

201 Seawall
Galveston, Texas 77550
409-765-9431
https://www.sandpiperrvresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Rooms available to rent

  • Beach access at Stewart Beach

  • Very close to downtown and all the action

Tiki Toms

333 Jones Lake Rd.
Tiki Island, TX 77554
409-935-5599
http://www.tikitomsrv.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Bay Access

  • Wifi at Clubhouse

  • Waterfront sites available

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Bluewater Resort

11511 Bluewater Highway
Freeport, TX 77541
(979) 239-4301
https://www.bluewaterrvpark.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Beach access across the street

  • Pool

  • Bay Access

  • Cottages available for rent

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Waterfront Sites


Matagorda

Not much happening around here, but that’s kind of the appeal. Another one of those places to just be and soak up some quality family time in the outdoors. It’s also on my RV camping bucket list.

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LCRA Matagorda Bay Nature Park Camp

6430 FM 2031
Matagorda, TX 77457
855-392-7638
979-863-2603
https://www.lcra.org/parks/Pages/matagorda-bay-nature-park.aspx

  • Full Hookups Sites

  • Water/Electric Sites

  • Dump Station

  • Beach Access

  • Colorado River Front Sites

  • Airstream Campers Available to Rent


Port Lavaca

Just a small Texas town along the coast. A perfect place for bird watching and fishing.

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KOA Port Lavaca Matagorda Bay

1348 Co Rd 302
Port Lavaca, TX 77979
Reserve: 800-562-8635
Info: 361-893-5120
https://koa.com/campgrounds/port-lavaca/

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Bay Front Park

  • Wifi

  • Dog Walk

Lighthouse Beach and Bird Sactuary RV Park

700 Lighthouse Beach Road
Port Lavaca, TX 77979
361-552-5311or 361-552-1234

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Bay Access

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Note: I wasn’t actually able to find a website for this park. Info may not be accurate.

Oceanside RV Park

1818 Broadway St
Port Lavaca TX 77979
361-552-4814
http://www.oceansidervparkandpier.org

  • Full Hookup Sites

  • Water/Electric Sites

  • Dump Station

  • Cable

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Texas Lakeside Resort

2499 West Austin Street
Port Lavaca, TX 77979
361-551-2267
http://www.texaslakesidervresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Cable

  • Dog Run

  • Waterfront sites available


Palacios

Where? I’ve lived here all my life and this is kinda what I was thinking when I came across this RV park. Anyway, I’m not going to tell you where to vacation and this is another place perfect for a fishing getaway.

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Serendipity Bay Resort RV Park and Marina

1001 Main St
Palacios, TX 77465
361-972-5454
http://www.serendipitybayresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Bay Access

  • Wifi

  • Cable


Rockport / Fulton

I’m going to personally name this one the RV Capital of the Texas Coast. Holy moly there are a ton of RV parks. There is a ton to do here too; roam the shops, visit their beach (which is on the bay), hit up a museum or the aquarium, or go fishing. I always think of fishing when I think of Rockport simply because that’s what we always did there when I was growing up.

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Blue Lagoon RV Resort

717 N Fulton Beach Rd
Fulton, TX 78382
361-729-1100
http://www.bluelagoonsrvresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Bay Access

  • Wifi Available at Rec Building

  • Cable

Ancient Oaks RV Park

1222 Hwy 35 South
Rockport, Texas 78382
(361) 729-5051
https://ancientoaksrvpark.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Dog Run

Anglers RV Retreat

1012 N. Moline Street
Rockport, Texas
361-205-4737
http://www.anglersrvretreat.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Wifi

Bahia Vista Waterfront RV Park

5801 FM 1781
Rockport TX 78382
(361) 729 - 1226
http://www.bahiavistarv.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Bay Access with Peir and Boat Tie Ups

  • Wifi

Bay View RV Resort

5451 HWY 35 NORTH
ROCKPORT, TX 78382
(361) 400 6000
RESORT@BAYVIEWROCKPORT.COM
http://www.bayviewrockport.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Wifi at Clubhouse

  • Cable at most sites

  • Walking Distance to Copano Bay and Aransas Bay Fishing Piers

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Goose Island State Park

202 S Palmetto St.
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 729-2858
https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/goose-island

  • Water/Electric Sites Only (20/30 amp)

  • Dump Station

  • Bay Access

  • Note: Some parts of park are closed due to Hurricane Harvey damage. Please check for updates before booking.

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Beacon RV Park and Marina

301 Fulton Beach Road
Rockport, TX. 78382
(361) 729-3906
http://www.beaconrv.com/
beaconrvpark@gmail.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Bay Access

  • Wifi

  • Cable

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Circle W RV Ranch

1401 SMOKEHOUSE RD
ROCKPORT, TX 78382
(361) 792-3687
https://circlewrvranch.com
STAY@CIRCLEWRVRANCH.COM

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Cottages available for rent

  • Short drive to bay

Coastal Breeze RV Resort

3025 Loop 1781
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 444-4131
https://coastalbreezervresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Bay Access

  • Wifi

  • Dog Park

  • Claims to be newest in Rockport

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Copano Bay RV Resort

3101 FM 1781
Rockport, Texas 78382
(361) 790-9373
copanobayrvresort@gmail.com
https://copanobayrvresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Bay Access

  • Wifi

  • Dog Park

  • Cabin Rentals Available

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Drifters Resort RV Park

4401 Hwy 35 South
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 727-9105
info@DriftersResort.com
http://www.driftersresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Short Drive to Bay

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Cabins/Cottages available to rent

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Estes RV Park

140 Estes Drive
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 386-2539
http://estesrvresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Short Drive to Bay

  • Wifi

  • Cable

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Hidden Oaks RV Park

221 Palmetto (Lamar)
Rockport, Texas 78382
361-790-8581
LIVE@HiddenOaksRVResort.com
http://www.hiddenoaksrvresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Wifi in Clubhouse

  • Cable in Clubhouse

  • Short drive to bay

Lagoons RV Resort

600 Enterprise Boulevard
Rockport, Texas 78382
(361) 729-7834
http://www.lagoonsrv.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Indoor Pool

  • Short Drive to Bay

  • Wifi at Clubhouse

  • Cable

  • Dog Walking Area

  • Cottages available to rent

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The Last Resort

4321 Business Hwy 35 S.
Rockport, TX 78382
info@thelastresortrockport.com
361-727-1958
https://www.thelastresortrockport.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Short Drive to Bay

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Motel rooms, cottages and cabins available to rent

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Majestic Oak RV Resort

298 State Hwy 188
Rockport , TX 7838
361.727.0034
info@majesticoakresort.com
https://www.majesticoakresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Short Drive to Bay

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Cabin Rentals Available

Palm Harbor RV

170 Port Ave
Rockport, TX
361-729-0113
http://www.palmharborrv.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Short Drive to Bay

  • Wifi in Clubhouse

  • Dog Walking Area

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Rockport Retreat RV Resort

175 Nell Ave
Rockport, TX 78382
361-500-9975
https://rockportrvretreat.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Wifi

  • Cable Available

Route 1069 RV park

606 W. Market
Rockport, TX 78382
(361)790-7600
http://www.rockportrv1069.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Short Drive to Bay

  • Wifi

  • Cable

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Saltwater Flats RV Resort

4221 TX Highway 35 South
Rockport TX 78382
361-386-2403
https://www.saltwaterflatsrvresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Cabin Rentals Available

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Sandollar Resort

919 N. Fulton Beach Road
Rockport, TX 78382
361-729-2381
http://www.sandollar-resort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Bay across the street

  • Motel Rooms Available to Rent (currently under renovations and not available)

  • Wifi

  • Cable

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Seaport Villiage RV Park

5340 Hwy 35 North
Rockport, Texas 78382
361-727-0866
http://www.seaportvillagervpark.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Bay Access 750 yards from park

  • Wifi

  • Satellite available for additional fee

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Shady Oaks RV Park

1301 Jims Smokehouse RD
Rockport, TX 78382
361-729-6511
https://rockportshadyoaksrvpark.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Cable

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Taylor Oaks RV Park

707 S. Pearl St.
Rockport, Tx. 78382
Phone: 361-729-5187
tayloroaksrvpark.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Short Walk to Downtown and Bay

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Wilderness Oaks RV Park

4851 N. Highway 35
Rockport, TX 78382-9603
(361) 729-2307
www.wildernessoaksrv.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Dog Run


Aransas Pass

Apparently there is a water park in Aransas Pass. Who knew? The dolphin encounters also rank high on Trip Advisor and of course, it’s another fishing town. Take the ferry over to Port Aransas for a beach day, shopping, and restaurants.

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Aransas Bay RV Resort

501 North Avenue A
Aransas Pass, Texas 78336
830-423-4322
aransasbayrv@yahoo.com
http://aransasbayrvresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Bay Access

  • Wifi

  • Short Drive to Bay

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Marshall’s Landing RV Park

2707 Hwy 35 N
Aransas Pass, Texas 78336
817-946-6571
http://www.marshallslandingrvpark.com/index.html

  • Full Hookups

  • Waterfront Sites

  • Wifi

Ransom Road RV Park

240 E. Ransom Road
Aransas Pass, TX 78336
361-758-2715
http://www.ransomroadrvparkinc.com/index.php

  • Full Hookups

  • Bay Access within Minutes

  • Wifi

  • Cable

RV Haven

922 Mack Road
Aransas Pass, TX 78336
361-230-4440
https://rvhavenrockporttx.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Wifi

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Southern Oaks RV Resort

1850 Texas Highway 35 Bypass
Aransas Pass, Texas 78336
361-758-1249
https://www.sorvresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Dog Park

The Palms RV Park

2135 W Wheeler Ave
Aransas Pass, TX 78336
(361) 758-4000
https://www.thepalmsrvpark.com/home.html

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Dog Park


Portland

Portland is small town on the bay just outside of Corpus Christi. Stay in town or make the quick trip to Corpus and take advantage of all they have to offer.

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Sea Breeze RV Community Resort

1026 Seabreeze Lane
Portland, TX 78374
361-643-0744
http://seabreezerv.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Bay Access

  • Wifi

  • Fenced Dog Walk


Port Aransas

Another one of my favorite beaches from childhood and adulthood. Gulf Waters is arguably the most luxurious and upscale beach RV resort in all of Texas and the town itself is just charming. Lots of good memories made here and it’s also just a hop, skip, and jump to Corpus Christi so you can advantage of all it has to offer as well.

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Port A RV Resort

2600 HWY 361
Port Aransas, TX 78373
(361) 416-1405
https://portarvresort.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Short Drive to Beach or Bay

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Gulf Waters Beach Front RV Resort

5601 State Highway 361
Port Aransas, TX 78373
(361) 749-4978
http://gulfwatersrvresorttx.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Beach Access

  • Wifi

  • Cable

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Pioneer RV

120 Gulfwind Drive
Port Aransas, TX 78373
888-480-3246
https://www.pioneerrvresorts.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Beach Access

  • Wifi

  • Cable

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Mustang Island State Park

9394 State Highway 361
Port Aransas, TX 78373
(361) 749-5246
https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/mustang-island

  • Water/Electric Sites (50 amp)

  • Dump Station

  • Beach Access

  • Note: Website states it’s only open for day use currently due to Hurricane Harvey Damage.

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Surf Side RV and Resort

1820 S 11th St
Port Aransas, TX 78373
(361) 749-2208
http://surfsiderv.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • 2 blocks to beach

  • Wifi

  • Cable

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On The Beach RV Park

907 Beach Access Rd 1A
Port Aransas, TX 78373
361-749-4909
http://onthebeachrvpark.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Beach Access

  • Wifi

  • Cable

I.B. Magee Beach Park

1000 Lantana Dr
Port Aransas, TX 78373
361-749-6117
http://nuecesbeachparks.com/ibmageebeachpark.html

  • Water/Electric Sites

  • Dump Station

  • Beach Access

  • Note: Currently closed due to Hurricane Harvey. Check website for updates.


Corpus Christi / North Padre Island

The RV parks in Corpus are less impressive, but there’s so much to do. Corpus is home of the USS Lexington, The Texas State Aquarium, Padre Island National Seashore, and word on the street is there is even a Selena Musuem. We’re getting ready to stay at Padre Balli Park for the first time and I’ll be sure to share our trip when we get back. Look out for that post coming soon.

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Padre Balli Park

15820 Park Road 22
Corpus Christi, TX 78418
(361) 429-4191
http://nuecesbeachparks.com/padreballipark.html

  • Full Hookups

  • Beach Access

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Colonia Del Rey RV Park

1717 Waldron Rd
Corpus Christi, TX 78418
(800) 580-2435
(361) 937-2435
https://www.ccrvresorts.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Cable

  • Wifi

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Padre Palms RV Resort

131 Skipper Ln
Corpus Christi, Texas 78418
(800) 552-6250
(361) 937-2125
https://www.ccrvresorts.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Minutes to Bay

  • Wifi

  • Cable

Laguna Shores Villiage

3828 Laguna Shore Rd.
Corpus Christi, TX 78418
361-937-6035
https://www.lagunashorevillage.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Wifi

  • Cable


Port Isabel

Just this side of the causeway from South Padre Island (the southern most and prettiest beach in all of Texas). These two RV locations below seem actually really neat and it’s worth clicking into both of their websites to check it out.

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Long Island Villiage

900 South Garcia
Port Isabel TX 78578
(956)943-3131
https://www.longislandvillage.com/default.php

  • Full Hookups

  • Bay Access

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Waterfront sites with dock available

Port Isabel Park Center

702 Champion Ave
Port Isabel TX 78578
(956) 943-7340
https://www.portisabelparkcenter.com

  • Full Hookups

  • Dump Station

  • Pool

  • Bay Access

  • Dog Park

  • Wifi and Cable available for stays over 1 week


South Padre Island

I already said it above, but this is the prettiest beach in all of Texas. By that I mean the water is generally clearer than anywhere else. You can do anything here from dolphin excusions, parasailing, fishing, sunset cruises, and more.

Andy Bowie County Park

7300 State Park Rd 100
South Padre Island, TX 78597
(956) 761-3704
http://www.co.cameron.tx.us/wp/parks-our-parks/parks-coastal-parks/parks-andy-bowie/

  • Full Hookups

  • Beach Access

Isla Blanca Park

33174 State Park Rd 100,
South Padre Island, TX 78597
(956) 761-5494
http://www.co.cameron.tx.us/wp/parks-our-parks/parks-coastal-parks/parks-isla-blanca/

  • Over 600 Full Hookup Sites

  • Beach Access

  • Bay Access

KOA Campground of South Padre Island

1 Padre Blvd
South Padre Island, TX 78597
800-562-9724
https://koa.com/campgrounds/south-padre/

  • Full Hookups

  • Pool

  • Bay Access

  • Wifi

  • Cable

  • Dog Park


Any further and we’re in Mexico folks and taking an RV to Mexico sounds like a pretty stupid idea, at least to me. I did finish typing this all out while drinking a spicy margarita though so… there’s that.

Anyway, not really sure how to wrap this thing up so cheers to vacay. Good luck finding a place to park and be sure to let me know in the comments your favorite RV park/resort on the Texas Coast.

-Monica


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5 Tips for Your Very First Trip in Your New RV

Your first trip out in the new RV can seem overwhelming. It feels like stocking a second home, which it kind of is, and surely you’re going to forget at least one thing you really need. Just make sure it’s not the toilet paper. The rest can be worked out.

Tips for Surviving your First Trip in the New RV

Texas RV Camping McKinney Falls State Park
  1. Stay Close to Home and Camp Near a Walmart - Seriously. Luckily for us there wasn’t anything that we needed to go run and get in an emergency, but it happens all the time for first timers. You forget something you really need and the last thing you need is to be way out in the middle of nowhere and far from home. Our thoughts were that if something went terribly wrong, we could just hook up and be home in 30 minutes. No harm done. Also if we forgot something small that we actually needed like a can opener or bottle opener (if you’re me that’s important), you could just run up to the nearest Walmart and grab it real quick. Some people even choose to camp in their driveway for the first time. If you live somewhere where you can do this, it’s probably not a bad idea.

  2. Keep a Notebook or Start Notes in Your Phone - This is for those things you forgot that you got by without, but definitely want for next time. For me this was salt and pepper and also cooking spray. Although I’ll be totally honest with you, I left the cooking spray in the camper and I’m currently questioning that choice. It’s starting to get hot here and I’m afraid the next time I go in my camper it may have exploded. Fingers crossed my kitchen isn’t covered in cooking oil spray. Also this is great for keeping track of campsites. Drive around and find your favorites and write them down so you remember them for you next trip.

  3. Use your Phone To Communicate While Backing Up the Camper - If cell service is non existent, you could also use walkie talkies. Our camper is 39 ft. long. I tried the whole use hand signals to help my husband back it in thing and it was bad for our marriage. I was never in the right spot and we were both super frustrated. Cell phones allow me to be anywhere I think I need to be and moving regularly to check clearance and I can still direct my husband into the campsite. It’s so much less stressful this way and who wants to start their trip off with stress?

  4. Expect anything or expect nothing - Your first trip is likely going to be a shit show. Or at least peices of it. Expect nothing to go as planned. Expect anything to happen. Setting appropriate expectations can make a not so great trip no big deal at all. Just remember you’re learning and remember this first trip is all about working out the kinks.

  5. Just Enjoy!


Texas RV Camping First Time McKinney Falls State Park

Just before our first trip I polled a Facebook group I’m in to have them tell me that one thing they forgot on their first trip. I want to share the top responses with you before I wrap this post up just so you can make sure you have the most commonly forgotten things.

  • Can Opener

  • Cork Screw

  • Toilet Paper

  • Garbage Bags

  • Spices (Salt & Pepper)

  • Dish Soap

  • Pillows

  • Scissors

  • Table Cloth

If you have any great tips and tricks to add or want to share the thing your forgot on your first trip, please feel free to share in the comments.

Also if you want to check out my RV camping items on Amazon, click the button below. Maybe you’ll find something else you haven’t thought of yet.

Disclaimer: The Amazon link is an affiliate link and I do earn a tiny commission for any items purchased as a result of clicking this link. If you purchase, THANK YOU!! This allows me to keep bringing you quality content on a regular basis.

Happy Camping!!!

-Monica


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What To Do About That Terrible RV Mattress

If you’re reading this I’m guessing you just spent the night on quite possibly the worst mattress you’ve ever slept on (if you even slept at all). No worries, I’ve got you. Let’s talk about that horrible RV mattress and the best and most affordable way to upgrade it.

It happens to the best of us. We buy our new or new to us camper, we buy all the things to go with it, and then set up our maiden camping trip just to find out ain’t nobody sleeping good on that poor excuse for a mattress that comes with the thing. You just spent all this money and a new mattress is the last thing you have room for in the budget. What do you do? Do you fork out the cash for a new one anyway? It’s a shame to spend all this money on something that’s supposed to bring you joy only to be sleep deprived with an achy back. We fixed this issue for under $100, which by comparison seemed like the perfect alternative to buying a new mattress.

This is NOT a sponsored post. I’m simply sharing what worked for us and helping out my fellow RVers.


What we bought

Lucid 3 Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

This particular mattress topper had great reviews everywhere I found it online and was available at many stores for so much less than comparable models. I ended up buying mine from Home Depot because at the time they had the best deal. I like to shop around. I’m going to link it below on several sites so you can find the best deal at the time you’re looking at this. I did see it on more sites (JC Penny, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc.), but those others had a much higher price point and I didn’t see the point of adding them here.

Disclaimer: The Amazon and Home Depot links are affiliate links and if you do purchase through one of those links, thank you! I will receive a super small commission, but that commission keeps me producing quality content for you. That being said, I’m a firm believer and finding the best price most of the time. If it’s not at Home Depot or Amazon, please choose the option that’s best for you.


What else you need to know before purchasing your mattress topper

mattress topper for the camper

I didn’t just purchase ours blind hoping it would work for us. I thought about our sleep needs and the level of firmness we typically prefer. If you like a super plush and soft bed, maybe the 4 inch model would be a better fit for you. If you love it super firm, you may consider the 2 inch model. We chose the 3 inch topper simply because we sunk into the super thin camper mattress directly down to the plywood below. We like it mostly firm, but felt for our needs that the 3 inch might provide a little bit more of what we were looking for. Check out this graphic from Lucid. Maybe it’ll help you decide which model will work best for you.


Hopefully you found this helpful and you can start getting a better night’s sleep on your next trip. This thing really has made a huge difference for us.

Interested in my other blog posts for beginner RVers? Check them out below.

Happy Camping,

Monica

Best Coffee Maker for the Camper

What is the best coffee maker for the RV?

This is a question I see asked by newbies all the time in RV camping Facebook groups. Now I’m still kind of a newbie myself, but I want to share with you what I bought, why I bought it, and a couple other options I see mentioned a lot.


Mainstays Single Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker

We use this Mainstays Single Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker from Walmart.

Why?

  • It’s only $19.99, about half the price of other off brand k-cup coffee makers on Amazon.

  • It has a super small footprint so it doesn’t take up a ton of counter space. We all know RVs are generally lacking in this area.

  • It’s easy to store away when traveling.

  • I’m the only one who drinks coffee so no need to brew a whole pot.

  • It now comes in 4 colors (black, red, mint, and iris)

The Downside of The Mainstays Single Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker

  • You wait in between cups for water to heat. But for that price and considering I’m the only one who drinks coffee in my camper, I can handle that.


Now what if you don’t have electricity?

So far we haven’t been somewhere without it and we have a generator, but I know people camp without electricity all the time and don’t have a generator. Also some just prefer an old school way of doing things especially when they camp and I totally get that, not to mention the folks concerned about the waste of a k-cup. All of this really just depends on your level of coffee snobbery and environmental concern and there isn’t really a right or wrong answer, but here is how you do it without electricity.

Use a Percolator or French Press When Electricity isn’t Available

I’ve found a few percolators on Amazon with 4+ star reviews that won’t break the bank. For these you’ll either need a campfire or a propane stove. At the time I added these to this blog post, they ranged from $17-$36 (all affordable).

And these two French Presses were also super affordable with 4+ star reviews on Amazon. I’ve never used a french press before, but I’ve been curious. Everyone always raves about coffee made with a french press. I’ve read you don’t want your coffee to be too finely ground with these or it’ll end up in your drink so keep that in mind. At the time I added these to this post, both options were about $25.


EDIT

I ended up buying this Bodum 12 oz. French Press from Target for the house just because I’ve always wanted to try one and I’m the only person who drinks coffee in my house. I may even start taking it with me in the camper. I cheat and use my Kurig without a K-cup to boil water and then just have it dispense directly into the french press already containing my coffee grounds. You just wait 4 minutes and then press. Coffee is ready. This is cheaper on Amazon so that’s what I’m linking for you, but I was actually able to find this in my local Target store just in case you’re a buy in person kind of person.

Pro Tip: Go for a bolder coffee. I tried a medium boldness which is usually fine for me, but it came out weak. I bought a bolder coffee and I it’s perfect.


And of course there is nothing wrong with a good old coffee pot, if that is the route that makes the most sense for you…

These two are basic and affordable with great reviews.


I know this seems super simple, but for whatever reason, the coffee maker can be a tough decision to make. Hopefully this gets you thinking about your coffee needs and what makes sense for you in your camper and makes this whole owning an RV thing a little less complicated. If you’ve got one you love in the camper, feel free to share it in the comments. Fellow RVers help each other out.

This blog post contains affiliate links and I may receive a small commission for purchases made by clicking on links in this post. If you choose to purchase any of these items by clicking on the link, thank you! This is part of how I can continue bringing you quality content on a regular basis. Please know that I posted these links with care and either own the product or read reviews prior to linking it in this post. Happy Camping!

Banner Image Photo for this post by Jéssica Silveira on Unsplash

Interested in some of my other posts for beinner RV campers? Check them out below.

24 Rainy Day Camping Activities for Kids

Rainy Day Camping Activities for Kids

I know I’ve talked about it before, but I’ve got a knack for planning camping trips on rainy or poor weather weekends. My talent for doing this is incredible actually. Just ask my family. You want to know when it’s going to rain? Just ask me for my camping schedule and you’ve got the answer. We’re headed to the coast in July and I’m already planning for hurricane weather because that would be my luck. You can bet I’ll be keeping a real close eye on the forcast during that time.

So since it’s obviously going to be raining for my next camping trip and the one after that and the one after that, here is the big question. What kind of rainy day activities can we do to keep the kids busy in the camper? I mean, we’ve watched every single movie in our camper at least 5 times and we haven’t even been camping for all that long. There are only so many times you can watch Sing or the Minions Movie over and over again. I’ve seen this question asked over and over again on camping forums so I’ve compiled the ultimate list of rainy day camping activities for your young kids.

The Ultimate List of Rainy Day Camping Activities For Your Kids

Markers and coloring books

Markers and coloring books

  1. Watch Movies - Yes it’s screen time and that’s not what camping is about, but for me camping is family time so if we’re all enjoying a movie together with a little popcorn, then I’m cool with that. Our camper favorites lately seem to be Sing, Minions, and The Lorax.

  2. Play Board Games - Candy Land, Monopoly, Guess Who, Battle Ship, Connect 4, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, Trouble, Checkers, or any board game you already have hiding in a closet somewhere will do.

  3. Play Card Games - A whole family activiite sure to please. We love Uno and Go Fish. My almost 6 year old daughter would probably play all day. Don’t forget about games like Skip-Bo, Old Maid, War, Apples to Apples, Crazy 8, or Charades for Kids.

  4. Color - We prefer a couple of coloring books and some markers that stay in our camper. Both of my kids love to color. Crayons can melt if they get too hot so I wouldn’t suggest keeping them in the camper if it gets hot in storage.

  5. Paint - I’ve seen suggestions of painting rocks which looks like a ton of fun. Some people have also mentioned leaving them behind for the next set of campers to discover. I love that idea. Seems like a fun way to put a smile on someone’s face. Also some old school water colors and paper are easy to pack and always a fun activity for kids.

  6. Play outside (if it’s safe to do so) - Just make sure you have a couple of kid size ponchos on hand (or swimsuits if it’s warm enough) and pack their rain boots (or crocs) and you’re good to go for a little rainy day outdoor adventure. Of course if there is lightening near by or dangerous wind, don’t do this. Use common sense folks, but have fun.

  7. Play-Doh - cheap and easy to bring along.

  8. Fort Making in the Bunks - If you have bunks that is and plenty of blankets or sleeping bags, pillows or just anything that can be used for a fort. I haven’t met a kid that didn’t enjoy fort making yet.

  9. Learn Origami - Keep a stash of paper around and maybe grab an inexpensive book off Amazon for learning origami.

  10. Make Slime - You can buy a slime kit or just have the ingredients you need on hand. There are endless recipes for slime on the internet. Just google it and choose a recipe that looks interesting or easy or whatever you want it to be.

  11. Bake Cookies - Our favorite ones to make come from the Magnolia Cookbook. Oddly they’re better after they cool off which is unlike any cookie recipe I’ve ever tried. A premade dough works just fine as well, but from scratch will give you more to do and can be a great family activity for a rainy day.

  12. Legos - Bring a tub or just a small set. You’re never too old for legos.

  13. Read - Grab some books that your kids can read on their own or bring along some to read to them. I went to college to be an elementary school teacher so I’m a fan of reading to kids anytime, not just when it’s raining.

  14. Seek and Find Books - Think Where’s Waldo or the I Spy books. Both of my kids love these.

  15. Puzzles - I love that this can also be an individual thing or a family thing. Bring along all kinds of puzzles ranging from 24 pieces all the way to 500 pieces (depending on how rainy it’ll be or on ages and number of participants).

  16. Jenga - Because this one also never gets old.

  17. Tic-tac-toe - This is our go to at restaurants, but why not on a rainy day in the camper too.

  18. Visit Local Indoor Attractions in nearby city- Museums, Children’s Museums, Aquariums, Kid friendly brewery or winery, trampoline parks, bowling, etc. Just google indoor activities for whatever city you are near and get out and explore.

  19. Craft Kits - you can create your own kit or buy one ready to go. This can be as simple as beads and string or that super cool dream catcher kit in my Amazon list for rainy day activities.

  20. Science Experiments - Honestly even I’d have to just google this one. I wouldn’t know where to start, but I’ve seen it mentioned in forums so I thought I’d include it here.

  21. Dominos - I haven’t played dominos in years and would totally have to figure it all out again, but I do remember having fun. Seems like a great game for kids and adults alike.

  22. Paper Doll Books - I’ve never done paper dolls with my daughter, but I’d bet if I pulled this out on a rainy day, she’d be in heaven.

  23. Joke Books - This is for when you’re desperate and everyone is getting on each other’s last nerve. Hopefully a joke or two will get everyone smiling again.

  24. Magnatiles - We don’t have magnatiles, buy I’ve almost invested in them several times. Everyone who has them swears they’ll keep their kids busy creating for hours.


Just after the sun came back out, looking at birds on the water.

Just after the sun came back out, looking at birds on the water.

Get everything you need to entertain your kiddos on a rainy day in the RV on Amazon. Click the button below to go to my Rainy Day Shopping List created specifically for this blog post.

This link is an affiliate link and I may receive a small commission for any items purchased by clicking this link. If you choose to click and purchase, Thank you! This is how I can continue to bring you quality content on a regular basis.


A cold day spent inside at Moody Gardens Rain Forest Pyramid while camping in Galveston.

A cold day spent inside at Moody Gardens Rain Forest Pyramid while camping in Galveston.

Do you camp? What are some of your favorite rainy day camping activities? Share them with me in the comments for others to see.

Thanks for reading my post!


-Monica

Want to see more of my posts for beginner RV campers? Click the links below.

DIY Essential Oil Mosquito Repellent

Mosquito season has arrived here in Central Texas and I’m on to my next ditch and switch. I’ve seen plenty of recipes for DIY Essential Oil Mosquito Repellent and I’ve taken what I’ve learned and applied it to my own blend of essential oils (all of which are know for repelling mosquitos).

Watch the video below to learn how to make this homemade, non toxic, and super safe mosquito repellent with me. Instruction are below the video if videos aren’t your thing or if you’re at work and supposed to be working or whatever and a video kinda ruins the secret.

Also for the record I used this after making the video and while everyone was getting mosquito bite after mosquito bite, I didn’t come home with a single one. It totally worked for me.



What you’ll need

4 ounce Glass Spray Bottle - I got mine on Amazon. You can find a link at the end of this blog post.

2 oz Witch Hazel - I actually used just under 2 oz. I used Thayers but any witch hazel brand will do. Word on the street is you can even sub with vodka so if you’ve got that laying around and you’re open to not drinking it, you can use that too.

2 oz Water - I actually used just under 2 oz.

Essential Oils (5 drops each) - Geranium, Citronella, Eucaluptus, Lavender, Lemongrass

Measuring Cup with ounces listed

Small Funnel - optional

Directions

Mix water, witch hazel, and 5 drops of each essential oil together in your 4 ounce bottle and give it a little shake. Use a funnel to pour if needed. Be sure to shake your bottle before each use.

This is safe to be applied to clothing or skin for the whole family (except very young infants. I always would suggest talking to your doctor about essential oil use when pregnant, breastfeeding or on infants).


Products from this post


Feel free to comment and let me know how this works for you or if you have a blend of oils you absolutely love for a bug repellent.

-Monica

As Seen in Issue 11 of the Magnolia Journal

IMG_2017.JPG

Issue No. 11 of the Magnolia Journal surrounds the idea of Freedom and inspires you to celebrate freedom in a number of ways. Maybe you celebrate freedom by choosing a path for you instead of what was expected, maybe it’s letting go of comforts to allow room for growth, maybe it’s packing out your kids into the car and living life on the road, or maybe it’s simply running through the grass barefoot on a summer day with literally nothing else to do. There’s even a summer bucket list that will inspire you to make this the best summer ever and live like you’re a kid again. If this sounds like your jam or you just want some of the grilled flatbread recipes (because they look freaking delicious and easy to make), go get it. If you just want to find a few Joanna Gaines approved items you can buy online, well then, I can help you with that. Just keep scrolling.


Backpack by Walker Family Goods

There’s an entire article about the Walker Family in this issue. They sound kind of amazing and I want to be them for like a week (likely I’d change my mind after 1 day in the car with my kids). Plus I’m just loving the vintage vibe of this bag.

Chemical Free Sunscreen

Look, I use the bad stuff on my kids too because it works. I’m trying to do better though and this one caught my eye.




Coconut Milk Roll On Perfume

There’s a seaweed + sea salt one I really want to try. I haven’t used perfume in years, but this makes me want to try.


But seriously, this issue has me saying all the yeses and I’m really anxious to try the spinach + artichoke flatbread and the tomato + basil flatbread. There’s even a recipe for chimichurri with avocado that sounds amazing too and since our outdoor kitchen is finally up and running, you can bet we might just be trying that one very soon with whatever steak I can get Tyler to cook. I don’t grill so if you know what an appropriate cut of mean for a chimichurri is, feel free to share.

So yeah, if you’re asking my opinion, I’d totally recommend issue no. 11 of the Magnolia Journal.

-Monica

5 Tips For Photographing Your Kids This Summer

Hey Moms, 

This morning it took me 5 minutes to find a parking spot at the YMCA and I was late to yoga.  And because I was late I had to do my practice at the front of the room facing sideways and on display for the whole class.  It wasn't a formal punishment or anything, it was just literally the last spot in the room.  I kind of just assumed everyone would be on vacation with this being the first Monday since school let out.  Nope.  I was wrong and I had really had to be on my yoga game this morning because I was just sure everyone was watching me the whole time (likely that wasn't the case, but whatever).  

Anyway, moral of the story is summer is here and summer adventures start hopefully this afternoon once everyone leaves the YMCA and takes their kids to do cool stuff.  

But what's a summer if you don't have proof it happened?  And if you're going to have photo evidence of this awesome summer, wouldn't it be cool if the photos matched the awesomeness?  I was sitting here brainstorming summer photography tips to capture your kids' epic summer.  For today, this is what comes to mind.


5 Photography Tips For Capturing Your Children This Summer


1. Let them get wet

Mainly this is because getting wet is fun for kids and they're destined to give you some real authentic (and probably happy) moments.  Also water mixed with some sweet light can make an image so interesting and fun.  Just look at the way the light shines through the water droplets here.  The photo wouldn't be the same without it.  So get out the hose, the sprinkler, slip and slide, pool, etc. and let your kids have a good time.  Swimsuit not required.  9 times out of 10 my kids are still fully clothed and soaking wet.

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2. Look for the light (or even wait for it)

So this is kind of an obsession for most photographers.  It doesn't matter where I am or if I have my camera with me, I'm looking at light constantly.  Summer can be hard because a lot of what we do is in the middle of the day and that sun is bright, bright, bright.  That harsh light is fun to play with, but morning and evening light is where it's at for me 90% of the time.  Maybe we'll address the harsh light on another day.

This set of images is from an evening in the backyard.  Saida got on the trampoline and I could see the light streaming in there on her leg (picture on the left) and that light under the trampoline.  Because the sun was almost behind the fence I really want to use backlight (place the sun behind my subject) so I could get that beautiful golden summer glow.  I actually turned the trampoline around so I could shoot through the opening towards the sun and voila, beautiful golden summer evening images.  The light was so gorgeous that Saida didn't even have to do anything. 

This is what I first saw when I grabbed my camera. Light coming into the area of the trampoline. This okay I guess, but not the awesome summer evening vibe I was going for.

This is what I first saw when I grabbed my camera. Light coming into the area of the trampoline. This okay I guess, but not the awesome summer evening vibe I was going for.

Then I moved the trampoline so I could shoot through the open part with the sun behind Saida and this is what I saw.

Then I moved the trampoline so I could shoot through the open part with the sun behind Saida and this is what I saw.


Saida-8815.jpg

3. Don't forget the details

I could photograph just the details for the rest of my life and be a happy woman.  Lately my detail obsession as been hand and feet, but it could be anything really.  Hair blowing in the wind will also get me everytime.  Maybe it's also the sweet rock or shell your kid found or their missing two front teeth.  Don't leave these things out.  I promise they'll be a great addition to an end of summer photo album or just something so fun to look at and remember later on.

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4. Capture the everyday stuff too

Summer can be epic and normal, right?  I think so.  These everyday moments are ones we forget about, but are generally just as awesome as those orchestrated summer moments.  Also this is just a reminder that you don't have to spend money or go anywhere to make beautiful summertime photos. You just have to get outside and allow you kids to be kids.

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5. Don't ask them to smile (make them smile)

This actually sounds like I'm holding a gun to their heads and demanding a smile.  I swear that's not what I mean.  What I mean is play with your kids.  In this image I'm shooting and jumping over Saida on the trampoline.  This was actually her request and a great reminder to me.  Look for real smiles and interact with your kids in a way that gets you real smiles.  Get rid of the word "cheese", you don't need it.

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Hopefully this helps with summer plans and with those everyday moments.  Photography helps me be more present with my kids, which is a challenge for a lot of us moms with all the things on our plates.  Put those other things on the back burner (laundry, dishes, etc.) and just be there with your kids (look, I'm just as guilty as you are).  I promise you'll never remember a specific time the dishes didn't get washed immediately after a meal, but you just might remember that moment with your kids. 

Have an AWESOME SUMMER!!!!
 

-Monica 

Mother's Day Gifts That Don't Totally Suck

Dads / Husbands, this one is for you. You might have one of those wives that actually loves the little heart necklace from Zales or a flower delivery on Mother’s Day, but I’m guessing they’d prefer something that they don’t feel obligated to wear or that just doesn’t die in a few days. I got a Roomba last year. That was literally the best gift ever. We named her Sylvia, she is a real person, and now there is finally someone else in the house who understands what it’s like to clean without appreciation. She gets me. My guess is Tyler was tired of listening to me complain about never getting any help around the house.

So if you were going to go get something for mom from Zales this year, just stop. Don’t do it. She doesn’t want it (probably). Just saying.

He’s some stuff that doesn’t totally suck that you could gift her instead. And yes most of these are affiliate links because if I’m posting it, I may as well make a few dollars off of it.


iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum

Because I already mentioned it, here is the one I got last year for Mother’s Day. Yes I know it’s expensive. Yes your wife or mom is worth it. Just think, the less time she spends vacuuming the floor, the more time she has to spend time with her family… just kidding. Really it’s just more time she has to clean other stuff or take care of the kids so you don’t have to.


These books by Karen Alpert

but only if your wife has a good sense of humor and doesn’t get offended by the F word. If she’s doing a perfect job parenting your children, she probably won’t get it and you should definitely buy her something different like a heart necklace from Zales that says #1 Mom or something like that.


Amazon Echo Spot

I actually really wanted to buy this for my husband, but he didn’t seem all that interested. Said there was nothing wrong with his current alarm clock which is, by the way, my alarm clock from before we were married and we’ve been married for almost 11 years. I thought he’d love being able to see what the motion at the front door was on his alarm clock because I though guys liked stuff like that, but apparently I was wrong. Anyway, you can even buy a cloud cam for this thing and use it as a baby monitor or put your fan on a smart switch so when you forget to turn it on at night, you don’t have to wait until you have to pee (which is probably only like 30 minutes from right then anyway) before finally giving in and getting up to turn the fan on.


Kindle Paperwhite

Or you could skip out on the hardback books up there and get mom this kindle paperwhite and the kindle versions of the books I mentioned. And these are waterproof now so mom can read it in the bath, at the pool, or on the toilet without fear.

But seriously, I use my paperwhite every single day it’s really a great gift and it saves trees, if you’re into that kind of thing.


Fiddle Fig Tree from Amazon

It’s like giving flowers except they don’t die… maybe. It’s really all up to her on whether or not it lives.


Oster Electric Wine Bottle Opener

And the least you can do is buy a bottle of wine (or 6) to go with it. This one is from Target so go ahead and buy it online. I’m even seeing an option for free 2 day shipping currently or you can pick it up in the store if you waited too long.


Ember Temperature Controlled Mug

Because let’s be real, mom hasn’t finished a hot cup of coffee in the presence of the children since they got here. I don’t actually have one of these, but I’m intrigued and I know people who love them. Grab this one from Best Buy.


Basically, don’t pick dumb stuff that’s the equivalent of her giving you a goofy tie for Father’s Day. Chances are you’d rather have a fishing pole (that’s what my husband is getting this year and it just got delivered to our doorstep a couple hours ago… yes I know it’s barely May… he buys his own gifts), truck stuff, or a drone or something rechargeable. Moms just want coffee, alcohol, a clean house, and maybe some peace and quiet. Happy Gifting!

-Monica

Oven S'mores in Under 5 Minutes

Have you ever wondered how you can make s’mores at home in the oven? We have. We technically have 3 months between our last camping trip and our next one and we’re already missing the camping life with over 2 months to go. It’s funny really because the first time we did s’mores with our kids they hated them. I bought the jumbo marshmallows and it was just too much marshmallow (as if there is such a thing) and they didn’t like how messy it was. They’ve since come to love them and we’ve found a way to have them on any ole night at home in under 5 minutes without having to fire up the grill. This is literally the quickest and easiest s’more you ever made and I’d say it’s just as good as the ones we make on the open fire (I’m sure I’m being judged for this statement by campers everywhere and I’m okay with that). Seriously it’ll take you longer to read this blog post than it will to make the actual s’mores.

Now, I know that I’m not generally your recipe girl. I’m only sorta a decent cook. Basically I can follow instruction really well, but cooking really isn’t my thing, but also I’m not sure you can actually call this cooking so I think we’re good there. Plus this is so easy my kids can do it.

how to make s'mores in the oven

What you’re going to need

  • a cookie sheet

  • foil (optional)

  • graham cracker squares (2 for each s’more you plan to make)

  • medium size marshmallows (1 per s’more)

  • Hershey’s chocolate bar (2 individual pieces per s’more)

“Cooking” Instructions

  • set oven to a high broil (our options are high and low, but I think high is 550 degrees).

  • cover cookies sheet in foil if you’re like me and like the easy cleanup of just rolling up the foil and throwing it away.

  • set one (1) graham cracker square down for each s’more you plan to make.

  • add one (1) marshmallow to the top of each cracker.

  • Put in oven for 1-2 minutes or until the tops of the marshmallows are at your desired level of burnt (we’re all different so you do you). Just keep a close eye on it because broil can sneak up on you real fast.

  • Remove from oven and add 2 individual chocolate square to the top of each marshmallow.

  • Add top graham cracker to each s’more and give it a little squish.

  • enjoy!!!!

how to make s'mores in the oven
how to make s'mores in the oven
how to make s'mores at home
how to make s'mores at home
how to make s'mores in the oven
How to make oven s'mores
How to make s'mores in the oven

The Etsy Shop: Printable Wall Art

So admittedly when I made those freebie printables for email subscribers, I was really enjoying myself. Ever since I’ve been obsessed with typography, learning as much about it as I can, and putting together these printables for your home. I’ve decided to take what I’ve been playing with and reopen my Etsy shop with some of the designs I’ve been working on.

Have you ever considered printables for home decor before?

They’re a super affordable way to add style to your home and they’re easy to change out with the seasons (or just when you’re ready for something new).

What if you don’t have a printer or your printer isn’t that great?

No worries! Just send the file off to your local office supply store or print shop for printing (Costco, FedEx Kinkos, Office Depot, Walgreens, etc.). Have them print on a smooth cardstock or matte photo paper. If you have a larger budget consider places like Framebridge where they frame it for you. Really any online printer will also work (mpix.com, Shutterfly, etc.). Don’t let you printer or lack thereof keep you from affordable artwork.

As a thank you for visiting my blog, I want to extend an offer for you to use at my Etsy shop. Buy 3 printable items and get 33% OFF (Now through August 31, 2019). Just use the code BLOGLOVE or click HERE.

If you print and use any of my printables (either the free ones or the ones from Etsy) I’d love to see it in your space. Tag me on Instagram @monicabrownblog or use the hashtag #monicabrownblog. Happy Buying!

Wanna get your hands on my free printables? Check out my blog post titled 16 Free Printables for Your Home or Office.

-Monica Brown

16 Free Printables For Your Home or Office

One of my goals is to make decorating your home easier. Maybe that means helping make it more affordable or maybe it means giving you ideas based on our DIYs that you didn’t think of before. It can mean a lot of things, but today it means I’ve been working on a little freebie for you and I’m kind of excited about it. Starting now, when you sign up on my email list, you get these 16 super adorable signs (in a digital format) that you can print at home or send off to your favorite printing lab. Who doesn’t love affordable (or in this case, FREE) home decor? Be sure to share your end product with me on Instagram by tagging @monicabrownblog or using the hashtag #monicabrownblog.

21 Farmhouse Finds at Big Lots

Post contains affiliate links.

I’m pretty sure the last time I was in a Big Lots was approximately 9 ish years ago when we lived about a quarter of a mile from one in San Antonio. The last few days I’ve been seeing them pop up in my Instagram and Facebook feeds with sponsored ads and I’ve got to say, I’m seeing some cute things that I would have never expected from a Big Lots. I’m shocked really and just looked up where my nearest Big Lots is because I think a visit is in order this week.

I’m also the queen of a good deal. I almost never buy anything that isn’t discounted or at least that I know isn’t a good value for the money. There are days that I wish I wasn’t that person, but I am which means I spend a lot of time making sure I’ve found the best deal possible on just about everything. The dog chewed up my son’s shoes the other day and I still haven’t found him a new pair, because I just feel like I could do better than any deals I’ve found online or in store so far. It’s a problem I think.

So yeah, if you’re looking for that Farmhouse look in your home, but on a budget, I may have just found a solution for you with these items from Big Lots. There’s more than this online too, but here are just a few of my favorites with that Fixer Upper vibe.

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Standing House Shelf with Woven Back

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Gold Metal Tabletop Clock

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Gold Metal & Glass 3-Section Test Tube Bud Vase

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Metal House Tealight Candle Holder

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You Are My Home Wood Panel Framed Plaque

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Gray Odessa Throw Pillow (17X17)

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Ether Miranda Diamond Lumbar Pillow (13X18)

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Adelyn Ether Throw Pillow (17X17)

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Bria Gray Stripe Throw Pillow (13X18)

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Small Grid Wire & Wooden Basket with Canvas Liner

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Round Hanging Wall Mirror with Rope (19”)

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“Home Is” Home Icon Framed Wall Plaque

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“Let’s Stay Home” Rustic Plaque

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Hanging Circle Shelf

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Smoky Finish Embossed Glass Bottle with Beads

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Living Colors Woodchip Tabletop Basket

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Cream Ribbed Ceramic Vase

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“Love” Metal & Wood Tabletop Decor

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Crinkle 3-Piece Quilt Set

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Plaid Microfiber 4-Piece Sheet Set

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Silver Galvenized Lantern

So are you as impressed as I am? Seriously, I’ve never seen anything this cute in Big Lots, but I’m happy to see them stepping up their game and providing attractive Farmhouse decor at affordable prices.

-Monica

A Dreary Weekend at Lake Bastrop South Shore Park

So first things first, I’m just letting you know that if you’re showing up at Lake Bastrop South Shore Park after 4pm on a Friday with your camper, you need to call ahead and let them know. I’m not always the best at reading the fine print, but fortunately we knew our site number and the park host made sure we were good to go. In my defense, I originally planned on showing up at check in time, but life happens and it didn’t happen.

Lake Bastrop South Shore Park

Where’d we go camping?

Lake Bastrop South Shore Park (an LCRA Park)

Lake Bastrop South Shore Park is one of a collection of parks located along the Colorado River in Texas operated by the LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority). We paid $22/night to stay in a water/electric RV site and then paid an entry of $5/day for just the adults. The park does have a dump station and I believe they also have just a few full hook up sites. If you don’t have an RV, cabins are also available for rent and of course you can bring your tent.

Site Number?

Site number 4. We made our reservations kind of late and I wasn’t actually excited about this site at the time of reservation. Turns out it’s (in my opinion) one of the best campsites in the park. It’s super spacious with a sufficient enough pad for our monster of a camper and it has a little trail right down to the water. You can actually see the water from the campsite when you’re looking down the trail. This site would be perfect for anyone planning to bring kayaks along as there is plenty of room and an area perfect for launching kayaks just at the end of the trail.

What did we do there?

So we have a running joke already in our household about my ability to choose camping weekends. This was only our 4th trip, but each trip has come with some kind of weather. The first one was cold and a little rainy, the second one was cold and super duper windy, the third was actually mostly okay, but it was a little cold in comparison to the weekends on either side of it, and this one came with the promise of legit storms, flash flooding, and potential for 2 inch hail. Yep, I sure know how to pick them. That being said we didn’t really get to take too much advantage of our time at the park this go around. I think we watched every movie in the camper at least once.

We spent some time down by the water near our campsite watching fish swim around, listening for and finding frogs, and just playing. We also explored the other community areas of the park which included fishing docks, a playground, boat rentals, and mini golf. Of course with the weather we didn’t get to do all of those things, but we were impressed with the amount of activities available. Hiking of course is also on the list of things you could do. You could even hike all the way to the North Shore of the park to the LCRA park there.

Campsite 4. This was our first night and the best weather and light of the entire trip.

Campsite 4. This was our first night and the best weather and light of the entire trip.

Pre bedtime exploration on night 1. This is the area just at the end of the trail from the campsite that would be great for launching a kayak or canoe.

Pre bedtime exploration on night 1. This is the area just at the end of the trail from the campsite that would be great for launching a kayak or canoe.

Camping at Lake Bastrop South Shore Park
Messy eater didn’t get cleaned up before setting off to explore.

Messy eater didn’t get cleaned up before setting off to explore.

Do you see the frog? This little guys were hanging out all over near the water. It was so fun to spot them.

Do you see the frog? This little guys were hanging out all over near the water. It was so fun to spot them.

Camping at Lake Bastrop South Shore Park
Looking for fish swimming around. There was actually a bass just off the shore. Would have been a great fishing spot.

Looking for fish swimming around. There was actually a bass just off the shore. Would have been a great fishing spot.

Next time bubba.

Next time bubba.

My heart.

My heart.

Fishing pier at the RV loop.

Fishing pier at the RV loop.

Part of the park playground.

Part of the park playground.

Swimming area. It was a little cold for swimming though.

Swimming area. It was a little cold for swimming though.

Love this quiet moment.

Love this quiet moment.

More from the swimming area at the main community area where the playground, mini golf, and boat rentals are located just off a large parking lot.

More from the swimming area at the main community area where the playground, mini golf, and boat rentals are located just off a large parking lot.

After this last photo we headed back to our campsite for lunch and Corbin’s nap. By the end of Corbin’s nap, the weather was starting to approach and any plans we had were out the window. We stayed inside the rest of the time and watched movies and waited on storms to pass.

Leaving the next morning was quite eventful. Check out is noon and all we saw on the radar was one storm after another. We packed up the inside of the camper and waited for a break and weather and then hooked up as fast was we could and hit up the dump station in the rain with thunder off in the distance not all that far away.

Ponchos are a definite must have to have on hand in your camper. If you don’t have them, go to the dollar store or jump on Amazon and order some now.

-Moninca


Other Products seen in this blog post

Disclaimer: These are affiliate links.

As Seen in Issue No. 10 of The Magnolia Journal

I’m a Johanna Gaines fan. For some that’s cool and for others I imagine they’re over it, but I could literally watch Fixer Upper all day. I don’t reall buy magazines, but I finally broke down the other day and bought my first issue of The Magnolia Journal and I kind of love it. It’s not over ran with ads and I love that not every single item in the magazine is from Magnolia Market or the Hearth and Hand section at Target. I was a little surprised really and from my surprise came this post. I’ve compiled some of the things from the magazine that can be purchased elsewhere and put them all here. It’s a little doormat heavy because I guess that’s a thing at the onset of spring when we’re all trying to freshen up our outdoor spaces. It makes me want a few more exterior doors. And I really think I’d like to have The Kaufman Merchantile Guide. It looks like one of those things you could get lost in for a little bit.

Disclaimer: Post contains a couple affiliate links.


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If you’ve ever thought about checking out the magazine and haven’t, I’d recommend picking one up. This issue had articles about authenticity and monthly journal prompts in addition to just being eye candy. I love the positive vibe and plan on subscribing.

-Monica

Building a Tract Home: What I Would and Wouldn't Do Again

Okay so the truth is I wouldn’t build another tract home (or cookie cutter home) again. That’s just me being real about the whole deal. Very little about the process was enjoyable and the stress didn’t end once our house was done. But I also understand that sometimes this is your only or your best option. That’s the boat we were in when we built our house. I could go on and on about our situation, but it’s not important and I can ramble with the best of them so let’s just skip over that and move on to what you came here for.

Disclaimer: This is all based on the experience we had with our builder. Upgrades, options, and standard inclusions vary depending on builder and I can only speak of our experience and hope it helps.

What I would do

  • Add can lights wherever possible. We did can lights in our bedroom because I didn’t want a light kit on the fan and we added them in our living room for the same reason. It just cleaned everything up and I’d defintley do it again.

  • Upgrade to taller doors. I never thought of this, but the model home had it done and it’s amazing how taller doors throughout your home can make it feel bigger and just overall give it a more open and grand appearance and for not a lot more money.

  • Add electrical outlets outside. We added one at the front corner of our house for Christmas lights and blow ups. Thank goodness for that plug. We also added one to the porch ceiling and it’s perfect for our string lights.

  • Add a gas stub out to your back porch (if you have gas in your home). Nobody wants to change out propane tanks for the grill. Now we don’t have to. We also added an electrical outlet and water to the back porch because we’re building an outdoor kitchen. Paying the builder to put in an outdoor kitchen was hefty so we decided we’d just have them add these things and then we’d do it ourselves.

  • Add the third car garage and extend the length. Okay so this may not be as big of a deal for everyone as it was for us, but we don’t regret it and our garage is the envy of our neighbors. The garages in these track homes are so short and we’re the only one who can actually get a mid size SUV in their garage. We also added the third car garage so my handy husband could have a dedicated workshop area.

  • Pay extra for white ceilings. Or better yet, just paint the whole house white. The builder paint is so terrible and we ended up repainting the entire thing anyway and I was glad the ceilings were already white. We actually argued about this one so don’t tell Tyler I actually agree with him now.

  • Get another Blanco sink. Y’all I love these things. It’s a granite composite sink that is not only beautiful, but also so easy to clean and maintain.

  • Upgrade the baseboards and cabinets. We didn’t do this and I wish we would have. We were pinching pennies and to go with what was included and I really wish we had shaker cabinets and the big squared off baseboard.

  • Upgrade shower and bath fixtures. I mean the ones that aren’t going to be easy to switch out yourself. We would literally have to bust out walls to change some things out and I regret not getting what I wanted from the builder.

  • Add irrigation. Our builder charged extra to put it in the back, but it was something we wanted and the upgrade amount seemed totally worth it.

What I Wouldn’t Do

  • Upgrade light fixtures. This is something else they builder tried to charge us a small forture for and what they had to offer wasn’t even in style (hadn’t been for years) and the quality wasn’t great. Let them put the basic light fixtures in and then come in and change them out afterwards.

  • Upgrade areas that can be carpeted. There are two reasons for this. One is that they charge you too much for just okay material. You can get something nicer for way cheaper from a reputable flooring company than you’ll get it from the builder. Carpet is easy to rip up. The other reason is the sub contractors the builder hires are not great. If they mess something up (and they will) it’s not an easy fix. If it’s an area that has to be tiled, go ahead and have the builder do the tile and get one you actually want.

I hope this helped in some way or at least got you thinking about what makes sense for your family in your new home build. Really decide what’s important and what you don’t want to have to deal with later. Ask yourself when you’re in design if these are the things you really actually want and bring you joy or if it even matters to you. We make some really great decisions and ones I regret. Good luck and feel free to share your woulds and would nots in the comments.

-Monica

Header Photo by David McBee from Pexels