Last week I returned from a long holiday trip to Texas where I paid a visit to my friends and family.  It was one of those vacations where I didn’t turn on the computer and my mind was completely void of all things work related.  I pretty much thought about what I was going to eat next and where I was going to get my next drink.  Well, the latter part didn’t happen until the last few days when I hung out with my friends in Houston.  Overall, it was a great trip filled with lots of delicious food and lovely company.  Some highlights: hanging out in Brownsville eating my Dad’s homemade shrimp tamales (I ate 9 in one sitting), driving out to South Padre Island where I used to spend every summer and devouring fried Gulf shrimp with my family, going to eat Tex-Mex at the Don’key restaurant in Pasadena with my other family, spending quality time with my grandparents and eating my grandmother’s delicious food (one day it was a seafood chowder made from scratch, another was homemade lasagna), and visiting my very good friends who I miss terribly.  I love California and I’m so happy to live here, but I will always be a Texas girl at heart.  Happy New Year, everybody!

My plate of my Dad’s tamales

Houston has a beautiful skyline and epic sunsets.  It was a crisp, clear day…

With a beautiful sky and the perfect light

I took this at the Don’key restaurant.  If you don’t know about Gilley’s, do yourself a favor and rent Urban Cowboy.  One of the best. movies. ever.

Yes, everything is BIG in Texas.  Even the food.

We had a dance party with my grandparents at their house.  You know you have cool grandparents when they dance to Joy Division at your wedding.  I will never forget it.

This is one of my favorites spots in Houston.  Texas Junk Co. sells all kinds of, well, junk.  But it’s good junk and you could spend a couple of hours in there rummaging through stuff.

They sell every kind of cowboy boot imaginable.  Cowboy boots are cliche’ to some, but you don’t “get it” until you’ve been to Texas.  Like I said, a Texas girl at heart.

There were a lot of things I wanted to buy, but my suitcases were full from all of the thrift store shopping I did.  And boy, did I score!

I freaked out when I saw this house with what must have been 7 or 8 Christmas trees in the yard.  I couldn’t tell if I loved it or hated it, but it was definitely something I couldn’t stop starting at.