Friday Favorites: Tamara Valdez

Tamara, (usually accompanied by Byrd, her chihuahua sidekick) is known and adored by most of Austin. Even though she has spent the better part of a decade living in this fine town, she seems like she comes from a place just a little more magical, rural and overgrown. She is the lady behind Botanicals Folklorica, where she harvests wild plants to infuse honeys, make tinctures, and wrap up the most lovely wildflower bundles. She is her own class of Austin maker/designer - her aesthetics don't come from a the ever-growing-NEW, but from an understanding of the past. 

 

 

1. EL EQUINOX = HORCHATA WITH ESPRESSO AT TACORRIDO

 

El Tacorrido, a small taqueria drive thru located at the busy corner of Oltorf and S. 1st, hits number #1 on my list of favorites in Austin. The Equinox is a cold beverage of a horchata with a shot of espresso. I'll drive 10 minutes from east Austin and pass up a few coffee spots just to get this delicious coffee drink. Let me add that their horchata recipe is perfect; a sweet blend of rice milk and cinnamon. 

 

Open 7am til midnight, this is a prime fix!

 

2. MURALS IN EAST AUSTIN 

 

Take notice of the artistry in east Austin through the murals that add charm to old buildings and long standing family-owned restaurants. They are one of my favorite things to show friends and family visiting Austin. Hand painted signs also go along with this impressive art form. The cultural heritage of east Austin is rich and historical. Take a moment the next time you are off of Robert Martinez and headed to Town Lake to look for a few incredible murals like this one of the Virgen de Guadalupe. 

 

3. YOGA WITH BRANDI JO AT THE CENTER SPOT

 

With meetings and errands and odd-jobs in the mix, my daily life is always moving quick. However, life has found a balanced speed again since practicing yoga with Brandi Jo. Brandi Jo is a definite healer and teacher in her own right. Her classes at The Center Spot (often accompanied by the tunes of Alice Coltrane!), are gentle and strong with her steady guidance in asanas. Her classes are never the same and you will find everything and more of what you expected or wanted out of a yoga session. I love a particular asana she leads called, 'balancing the darkness'. You leave Brandi Jo's class feeling grateful for slowing down your day while feeling all the muscles in your body awakened. 

 

4. HIKING & EXPLORING AT PEDERNALES FALLS STATE PARK

 

If there is ever an activity I feel the most myself in, it is definitely hiking. I feel like a little deer when Im trail-heading up hills and mountains and even in a woody thicket. Austin is home to many trails to take a hike. Pedernales Falls State Park is one of those places I could hike and run in for hours. With a river inside the state park, be sure to take a tube and float for hours. 

 

The Austin landscape varies between expansive blackland prairies to wildflowers and limestone in the Hill Country. And it's those contradictions of landscape that maintain not only my love for Austin, but for the Lone Star State as a whole.

 


5. PHO AT THANH NHI 


I could eat Vietnamese food everyday and if that dream came true I would head over to THANH NHI in north Austin. A friend took me there for the first time last fall after we both jumped at each other's excitement for pho and banh mi! THANH NHI is family owned and the humble sweet 'woman of the house' is always there to greet you and send you off with full bellies. If you're a fan of pho and other Vietnamese dishes be sure to explore north Austin and treat yourself to some of the most authentic foods in the city. 


Thanks, Tamara!


Images:

portrait by leah meltzer // tamara's own // photo by brandi jo perkins // tamara's own // PHOto here