Back to School at River Oaks Shopping Center

Cue the waterworks for this mama because Bear starts kindergarten on Wednesday! I can't even believe it- my firstborn is officially headed off to school and while he's totally ready, his mama is definitely not. We've been soaking up the end of summer as much as we possibly can before it's all about early morning carpool lines and field trips to the zoo. Last week I wanted to have a special Mommy & Me day for Bear and also tackle a few things on our back-to-school To Do list, and knew quickly there was really only one good place in Houston to make that happen. We headed to River Oaks Shopping Center for a day full of pottery painting fun, shopping, good eats, and lots in between! Bear had the best time and I'm so thankful we were able to make these memories that he will hopefully always remember and cherish, because I know I will. 


Our first stop at River Oaks Shopping Center was Kroger for several reasons- Mommy wanted (*needed) Starbucks and Bear needed school supplies. We hadn't been in this location much before and were pleasantly surprised at how well organized everything was- we were in and out in under 20 minutes which has to be some kind of school supply record! I also love that Kroger is doing a Backpack Buddies program where you can buy a school supply kit for $7 that goes directly into the hands of underprivileged kids in Houston. It's such an amazing way to give back and a great way to teach our kids to do so, as well.

From Kroger, we headed across the street to The Mad Potter for some fun pottery painting. Bear had been requesting this for awhile and I was so happy with how much he enjoyed it- he had the best time! He painted a shark and was so proud of it by the end; he especially loved when the manager took us to the back and showed him how the kilns work and get over a thousand degrees. Basically the temperature outside in Houston right now ;). All the more reason to find fun indoor activities like The Mad Potter! Several friends have also told me it's a great place to host birthday parties- kids of all ages love it and their creation doubles as a party favor. 

All that pottery painting worked up quite an appetite so we walked over to Epicure Cafe for a yummy lunch- they have a huge menu with everything from chicken salad sandwiches to smoked salmon. Their desserts are also to die for and I always have to get one of their homemade blueberry muffins! 

I can't go to River Oaks Shopping Center and not shop, naturally, so we ran in GAP Kids to get Bear a few new shirts to spruce up his fall wardrobe (they were having BOGO 1/2 off!) and into LensCrafters to check out some specs. Bear doesn't need them but I'm in need of some new glasses and they're running some great sales right now for back-to-school. 

Some of you may remember that Bear got a new puppy, Dasher, for Christmas and both Bear and Dash are in for quite a change once Bear starts kindergarten. They are going to miss each other so much during the day! Bear has been concerned about this and when we saw Natural Pawz, he wanted to get his pup a toy to cheer him up this week. Natural Pawz in River Oaks Shopping Center has a huge selection of everything from pet food to toys, and even doggie ice cream! We wished we'd had Dasher with us because he would've been living his best life for sure.

We finished off our day out with Sweet Cream ice cream at Marble Slab (Bear's favorite) and a walk along the beautiful flower lined W. Gray Street. Bear loves hanging out under the palm trees- we feel like we're in Southern California!

If we make it back to River Oaks Shopping Center before school starts, I'd love to take Bear to C2 Education Center to brush up on his sight words and help him with his reading- C2 is known for having amazing teachers and being one of the best tutoring centers in Houston. Both of my parents are retired teachers so I put a lot of importance on tutoring and one-on-one help with education. 
I also hope to make it to RYDE for regular classes now that I will have more time on my hands! Bear starting kindergarten is bittersweet- I don't want my baby boy to grow up but I also will enjoy having one on one time with Boone and some more time for things like working out, getting the house in order, and of course shopping.

Have you been to River Oaks Shopping Center yet? If not, now is the perfect time to go. So much fun, food, shopping, and lots more await!
xo, Britt

*This post is sponsored by River Oaks Shopping Center, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

family trip to Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa

If you follow us on Instagram, you probably saw that last week we were living our best life at arguably the best kept secret in Texas, Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa. It's not technically a secret, as we made new friends at the resort who have been going back every summer for years, but that's no surprise. Once you experience Hyatt Lost Pines for yourself, you'll want to go back year after year, as well. At least we do! Bear has talked about it nonstop ever since, and I'm seriously missing the deep tissue massage I had at Spa Django. 

We stayed for two nights and three days at the resort which was amazing, but of course we wished we'd had one more night/day. There was so much to see and do, from pony rides for Bear to the best Starbucks Mocha Iced Coffee at McDade's Emporium & Ice Cream Saloon (also the best Bluebell Birthday Cake ice cream!). Get ready for picture overload (couldn't help myself, so much fun finding our #lostpinesmoment), and I'll tell you all about our trip below!

Let me start by telling y'all more about Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa. Big name and even bigger place, the resort is located outside of Bastrop, Texas and is nestled on a vast 400 acres along the banks of the lower Colorado River. It's just 20 minutes from Austin, and only took us 2 hours from Houston, making it an easy getaway for anyone in those cities looking for an amazing destination without all the hassle of flying. This was especially ideal for us this summer with Boone being only 5 months old, even though we plan to take both boys back every summer from here on out, we all loved it so much!

As you can tell, we were big fans of the food at Hyatt Lost Pines. We didn't get to try it all because there are eight different restaurants on the property, but we did as much damage as we could! 
Stories- The signature steakhouse which everyone we talked to raved about but we didn't get to try. I want to go for the atmosphere alone- the foyer’s floor-to-ceiling bookshelves house works by Texas authors, for which Stories is named (y'all know I'm a bookworm so this is a dream!).
Firewheel Cafe- A bright, airy cafe with the best dinner buffet...we rolled out of there one evening almost too stuffed for s'mores.
Old Buck's Place- The restaurant at the water park, Old Buck's was possibility our favorite of them all. We were waited on while hanging by the pool in lounge chairs, and the food was excellent. Best fried pickles & Zach raved about his mudslide.
Sheller's Barrelhouse Bar- Hands down best queso I've ever had. Sorry, got ahead of myself- Sheller's is a sit down restaurant with a vast drink menu and pool tables that stayed occupied by teenagers who I shockingly never saw on cell phones. The Shiner Bock Queso was so good- worth the two hour drive alone. The mac 'n cheese on the kids menu was also delicious and this was Bear's favorite eatery of the trip.
Major Neighbor's Grill- A pizza and sandwich shop located at the golf course, next to the pro shop. We didn't get to try it but heard great things (they also deliver pizza to the room!).
McDade’s Emporium and Ice Cream Saloon- Our most frequented by far, we couldn't stay out of this adorable emporium full of yummy snacks, souvenirs, iced cream, and delicious Starbucks creations.
Tiny's Range House- Another we didn't get to try since we didn't play golf and this is the  Wolfdancer Golf Course restaurant, but Tiny's serves up quick bites and grab-and-go snacks as well as items like golf balls, cigars, and sunscreen.
*Wolfdancer Gold Course is said to be one of the best in the state and I am dying to play it on our next stay. We ran into several ex San Antonio Spurs, including Bruce Bowen, who made their way to the links during their stay.

The minute we pulled up to Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa, we were completely blown away. We couldn't get over how huge the property is, how friendly the staff is, and the endless things to see and do. Whether you want to just relax and hang out at the Crooked River Water Park and Pool Area or hike through McKinney Rough Nature Park (1,100-acre nature park next to the resort), there is truly something for everyone. Bear's favorite activity was archery, where he learned to shoot a bow & arrow from professionals, as well as throw knives and tomahawks. If you know Bear, you know this made his trip! He thought it was the coolest thing ever. 

Hyatt Lost Pines offers lots of activities daily- we took a hayride the first evening down to the Colorado River and saw 4 deer along the way, and loved meeting the Lost Pines mascots, Yogi and Boo Boo (the cutest alpacas- Boo Boo actually kissed Bear on the cheek!). My very favorite thing of all had to be the s'mores every evening. Starting at 7:30pm, everyone would gather around one of the big firepits and roast marshmallows for the most mouth-watering s'mores- Bear loved this as well and I'm pretty sure we ate about 6 s'mores apiece both nights. Following the heavy indulgence, we'd head over to the big lawn for a movie and popcorn. Zach and I weren't sure if Bear would be into this, but both nights he was completely mesmerized and had to stay for the entire movie. 

I could ramble all day about how much we loved our stay- the 1,000 foot Lazy River (we must've gone around it at least 15 times), the junior suite that was out of this world, staff that treated us like family, and a place like none we've visited before. Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa exceeded all our expectations while giving us new traditions as a family, and allowing us to put our phones down for a bit and find our Lost Pines Moment. We can't wait to go back!
xo, Britt