Botolino Gelato

Last Sunday I was invited to Botolino which specializes in authentic gelato made from scratch.

I met with Carlo “Botolo” Gattini who is a third generation gelato maker with deep roots from Italy. He was trained by gelato masters in Italy and is very passionate about the gelato he produces.
Unlike many places that offer gelato, Botolino uses quality ingredients and does not cut any corners by using powder mixtures or artificial flavors.
Carlo says, “If it’s not quality, I won’t serve it.”

Botolino takes pride in displaying artisan methods such as using organic milk and cream bases that age for 12 hours to obtain maximum creaminess.

With quality gelato comes quality ingredients and Carlo desires to have the best of the best for his clientele.
He uses local coffee and honey, imports special nuts and spices, and fruits from other countries that are in season.

If you are in the Dallas area, Botolino is a must!
Botolino takes advantage of all the influences and culture of the clientele and community that it is located in.
Carlo has spent 30 years in Dallas and is a traditionalist at heart who compares Dallas life to Italy in the sense that in most neighborhoods, all the shops, restaurants, and everything one could desire is within walking distance.
Carlo takes pride in opening this one and only location here in Dallas and expressed that he never wants to leave.
He is very content that in the two short months of opening, there are locals who visit regularly and how embraced Botolino is in the community.
In due time, Carlo wishes to establish relationships with local farmers and communities and while he agrees that there is room for growth and always room for improvement, he never wants to take away from the traditional and authentic gelato that Botolino has to offer.
When asked what has been the most rewarding from Botolino’s opening, Carlo smiled and stated how he loved that gelato is not just a kids treat, it appeals to all ages, races, ethnicity’s and genders.

The staff was wonderful and extremely polite, the location was spotless, and above all, the gelato was delicious!

Carlo and Botolino are two of Dallas’ gems and I can’t wait for my next visit!

 

Xoxo,

–  R. Vargas

| Botolino provided me with this product. The opinions I have shared about the products are solely my own. | All photography credit is due to the services of Javier Garcia.

First Time Flyers

What you need to know about flying for the first time:

  • Make sure you check in for your flight 24 hours prior to the boarding time. Especially if you are flying Southwest! (It is extremely crucial you check in early to ensure you reserve a specific seat.)
  • Leave early. Remember there may be traffic, detours, hard to find parking spots, and long lines during security that may delay you.
  • Eat a decent sized meal before you arrive at the airport.
    This will leave you feeling nice and full for the duration of your flight. Nothing is worse than flying on an empty stomach. (This will also keep you from spending on the expensive airport food.) Pack a few snacks like trail mix and granola bars to munch on.
  • Charge your phone and invest into a good portable charger or power bank.
  • If you are taking any electronics, make sure they are fully charged and that you have your own set of headphones.
  • If you are a bookworm like me, take a book to keep occupied while you wait.
  • Depending on the duration of the flight and/or in case of layovers, take a travel sized pillow.
  • No matter what the weather is like, take a sweater. Airports are normally very cold.
  • Prepare your wallet! Keep your passport/ID, cash, debit/credit cards or checks ready and handy because you will be needing it often. This includes your boarding pass as well.
  • Pack a light carry on bag. Yes, you want to have the essentials with you but you also don’t want to carry on a heavy bag bursting at the seams and tiring you before you even make it out to your destination.
  • Dress comfortably! You may be moving fast, bending over, walking/running more than you thought so be prepared.
  • Remember that carry-on liquids, gels, and aerosols have to be 3.4 fluid ounces or less and fit in a clear, quart-size bag.
  • Take a reusable water bottle to fill. (This is probably the most important in my opinion.)

These are the tips that helped me prepare for my first flight!

Xoxo,

-R. Vargas

Malu’s Mexican Embroidery Clothes & More

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A few months ago I came across Malu and her family who were selling these traditional beautiful Mexican embroidery shirts and I fell in love.

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All of the items are from Mexico and are embroidered by the local artisans there.
She carries clothing in all sizes and even has shirts for men and children.
I normally see these shirts run anywhere from $45 to $100 but Malu’s items start off at $10 and the most expensive item I have come across so far is $25.
She ships as well and once again, shipping is so reasonable.

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Typically I get my shirts straight from the Motherland but I am not able to visit Mexico as much as I would like so I am so thankful I found Malu’s Mexican Embroidery Clothes & More!
Not only are the shirts beautiful and come from quality material but the profits from her small business go towards her daughters whom she is putting through college.

Take a look at her site or Facebook to order and help support this small business!

Xoxo,

– R. Vargas

Why I started blogging….

Before I started school, my grandmother taught me how to read and write and every day I wrote my full name, the name of my family members, my home address and the address of my grandmother.
I loved writing. Any and every word I knew how to spell, I tried to write it out.
I wrote and filled up journals by the time I entered into kindergarten and on one special occasion I was presented my very first Lisa Frank Diary with a lock and key.
I wrote in it everyday. My thoughts, my feelings, what went on at home and school. I just wrote it all down.

Every year I was given a diary and I never grew out of them. Still to this day, I have personal diaries and journals that I continue to fill up but I felt it was time to share some of my thoughts and feelings with an audience.

I started blogging as a creative outlet to pour out my sincere thoughts, share my interests, work on my photography and writing skills and hopes of inspiring some of you to do the same.

Q&A

  • How did you get into blogging?

I was first introduced into blogging through tumb1r at the age of 18. I was obsessed with tumb1r and spent way too much time on it but it was just an incredible feeling to see and read things from all over the world that people posted and reposted.
Along with reposting, I also posted my original content and surprisingly it would get likes and repost too.
Again, I felt special in the JW community and even met great pen pals who turned into wonderful friends.
After a few years on tumb1r I felt it was finally time for me to move on to the next phase in my life of actual blogging.

  • What would you label your blog as?

If I had to put a label on it, it would be a Lifestyle Blog.
My blog is not just about DIY’s, gardening, recipes, preaching, etc. it’s a little bit of everything in my life.

  • Did I start a blog to get famous or sponsored?

No, of course not. I wanted and will always want my blog to remain original and pure with my own likes and dislikes.
I have been fortunate enough that some restaurants/bakeries have wanted to collaborate with my blog.
I am no where near famous but I have been asked if I am, “Shulammitegirl” when I am at functions/gatherings in the JW community so that has been exciting.

  • Why did you use WordPress as your template?

I started with WordPress because of how simple and easy the format was to use and understand.
I did look into BlogSpot, Squarespace, Godaddy, etc, but I didn’t feel experienced enough to start with those sights and I was not ready to buy my own domain name just yet. I actually didn’t even know if I would have my own domain name but I loved the idea that by starting on WordPress, I would be able to eventually buy my own domain name through them and not have to hassle with linking my blog to another website.
I would definetly recommend WordPress to anyone starting out.

  • You have your own domain name now, what prompted you to finally have your own?

Well when I first got the hang of blogging on here, I told myself if I ever reached 200 followers I would purchase my own domain name.
I know 200 followers is nothing compared to an actual blogger but I have an amazing audience who actually reach out to me and communicate with me and that is what I wanted when I started this blog.
When you get on my homepage you will see that I have 194 followers but those are just people who follow me with other blogs. That number does not include those who follow me solely by e-mail.

  • What if I do not have a laptop or tablet? Will I still be able to blog through my phone?

Of course you can still use your phone! I can’t speak for any other site but WordPress has a quick and efficient App to help you navigate.

  • What if I just want to post and share my photography or start a portfolio?

Pixieset may be the site for you!

  • How do you feel about vlogging?

I think it’s really neat and there are some interesting people out there but I don’t feel that I am one of them. Maybe someday I’ll start a baking channel on Youtube. Stay tuned….

  • What is one common mistake you made as a blogger?

I think a common mistake everyone makes as a blogger is not knowing what to blog about. Being stumped about ideas that you may have but do not feel that others will be interested in.
I didn’t think the way I crafted in my planner was interesting to anyone and any post dealing with my planner has the highest ratings and views.
Post what you want and how you feel, there are so many people out there who are interested in the same types of things and you can share and learn from others.

I hope this encouraged you all to find some type of creative outlet, even if it’s not blogging or vlogging, it might be journaling, sketching, getting into photography, etc.
If you’re ready to start blogging on WordPress and need some help, feel free to comment below and I’ll get in touch soon!

Xoxo,

– R. Vargas

 

The Best Life Ever Pins Giveaway 

Hi everyone! I recently ordered these pins from the Etsy shop Seasoned with Salt. Make sure you check out her shop for the sweetest gifts and the most beautiful illustrations. 

I am in love with them and want you to have one too! This is a simple giveaway, all you have to do is comment your favorite scripture and why it’s your favorite below! 

I will randomly select three winners by Friday and comment them back on here so if you are going to participate, please check back on Friday to see if you were selected. 

Best wishes,

– Sister Vargas 

Organic Body Butter & Body Scrub + GIVEAWAY

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I’ve been researching different body care products for the last few weeks and I am trying to stay away from products that contain chemicals I can’t pronounce, that have been tested on animals and that will cause my skin to have an allergic reaction.

I was gifted a sample of Organic Bedstuy Body Butter and Willie-B Sugar Scrub from Brooklyn Kat and when I read some of the reviews for these different products, I found testimonials of eczema clearing up, inflammation and red skin reducing and diminishing dark under-eye bags so I decided to try them.

I cannot believe how moisturized and hydrated these have left my skin!
Not to mention how incredible it smells!
I used the Willie- B Sugar Scrub while I showered and once I dried myself off, my skin was still smooth and soft.
I hesitated to use the Bedstuy Body Butter because my skin was already moisturized so I didn’t really see a need to use it but I did anyway and my skin has never felt smoother.

I watched a documentary years ago that asked the question,“If you would not put it in your mouth and consume it, why would you put it on your skin?”
That question has always stumped me.

I am seriously so OBSESSED with these products and I feel the need to share and encourage others to look into them. Especially if you have sensitive skin or you are looking into a more natural lifestyle. 
That being said, I am giving away a gift set of the Bedstuy Body Butter and Willie-B Sugar Scrub to one of my followers!
Remember the products are 100% natural and handmade. 

All you have to do is comment below and tell me what your current obsession is when it comes to body care.
I will announce the winner Monday so best wishes!

Xoxo,

– R. Vargas

Austin Adventures

This past week my friend and I went on a mini road trip to Austin.
I booked an Airbnb in advance and while searching and refining my search, I found the dreamiest Airstream you could ever lay your eyes on.

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As you could imagine, the inside was even lovelier. Decorated with vintage décor and older maps used as wallpaper, this place had so much charm.

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On an acre of land, this airstream had it all. A huge garden, a hammock, and tons of animals.

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While I was planning this trip months in advance, I looked up different places on Yelp that had great reviews and had Vegan options for Chelsea. While I am not Vegan, I wanted to respect her choices and keep an open mind to try new things.

On our first night in town, we stopped at The Halal Corner which was a Mediterranean restaurant.

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It was amazing! I’ve never had tzatziki or falafels but based on this place, I would have them both again. Next time I am in Austin, I will be returning to The Halal Corner.
I can still taste the spices and herbs just by looking at the pictures.

The next morning, we got an early start and headed to Kerbey Lane Café for breakfast.

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Chelsea ordered the Vegan Breakfast Platter and I ordered the Chicken and Pancakes from their Spring Menu and a Mimosa.

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Fried chicken breast, cinnamon-beignet pancakes, strawberry maple-jalapeño sauce, and powdered sugar. Drools*

After breakfast, we made our way down to East Austin Succulents which I also came across on Yelp.

This was probably my favorite spot to visit on our trip. Solely for the fact that I am a plant lady.
I could go on and on about how beautiful it was but I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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We didn’t leave empty handed. We bought a few indoor plants and succulents and we both got matching brown planter girls which I am over the moon about.

Later on for dinner, we tried a Thai restaurant called Madam Mam’s that I heard about from my former boss.
As soon as we walked inside, I knew it was going to be a winner.

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The Chicken Larb Spring Roll doesn’t look like much but it is one of the best things I have ever consumed in my entire life. Seriously, mouth watering.

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As my main dish, I ordered the Pad Kee Mao also known as the Drunken Noodles. It had the perfect amount of heat and the portions were huge.

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After dinner, we found ourselves craving something sweet so we made a quick stop at Sweet Ritual which is a Vegan ice cream shop.
It was a small hole in the wall but while we were sampling different flavors, we noticed how insanely busy it was.

After sampling, I decided on Unicorn Poop.

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It was delicious and I promise you could not even tell it was coconut based or vegan.

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I actually wished we had a Sweet Ritual back home!

On our last day, we found ourselves thrifting for hours. I know, I know, we were out of town and should have been shopping like crazy at the mall but we went thrifting instead.

After our big spending, we stopped at Desano’s Pizza Bakery.
I loved their mural on the wall but I loved the Margherita D.O.P. I ordered even more.
The pizza was super light and all the ingredients tasted so fresh.

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For our last stop, we went to Lammes Candies.
I heard it was a big deal with all the homemade candy from scratch and I knew I had to visit.

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I came home with some Carmelitos, Kisses, Sherbet Mints, Texas Pecan Pralines, and Licorice.

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I did not realize how attached I would become to the airstream and as I was checking out, I kept finding myself looking back at it not wanting to leave.
It was comforting to know that after a few minutes of departing, the hostess of the Airbnb sent me a message saying we were pleasant guests and that they would host us again.

I’m already planning my next stay.

Xoxo,

– R. Vargas