How Not to Burn Your House Down This Thanksgiving

You are planning your Thanksgiving meal with care–you’ve sent the invites, figured out how much turkey you will need to feed those hungry guests, and settled the age old debate of stuffing versus dressing.  But there may be one thing you’re forgetting, and fire departments around the country point to it as one of the reasons for burnt turkeys, smoke damage and worse during the holidays.

Have you cleaned your oven lately?  If your oven is dirty before you start cooking, it’s a real fire hazard. Dried particles of food and grease drippings and bits of batter can easily go up in flames. Add in overflowing turkey or ham drippings, and the only recipe you will have is one for disaster. If it’s been awhile, now is the time to pull out your oven’s manual (or find the online version) and go through the self-clean cycle!

Cheers to a clean oven, a perfectly cooked turkey, and a safe and happy Thanksgiving!




Posted on November 6, 2018 at 9:16 pm
Judy Dunlap | Posted in Seasonal Fun |

Your Guide to Holiday Cheer in and around San Antonio

Thanksgiving is still a few days away, but the holiday season is kicking off in a big way in San Antonio. From twinkling light displays to caroling on the River Walk, there’s no shortage of cheer in and around the city. Check out these eleven holiday events to help you get into the spirit.

Dickens on Main

When:  Friday, November 24, 2017, 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Get your merry on as the 18th annual Dickens on Main celebration kicks off the holiday season in Boerne on Nov. 24 and 25. Shop for unique holiday gifts along Boerne’s Hill Country Mile while the whole family enjoys live musical entertainment, Dickens-era theatrical performances, a variety of children’s activities including Santa and a 60-foot snow slide, live ice sculpting shows, horse-drawn carriage rides, snow on Main Street and more. See Dickens on Main for a complete schedule.

The Nutcracker

When: Fri., Nov. 24, 7:30 p.m.;  Sat., Nov. 25, 2 & 7:30 p.m.;  Sun., Nov. 26, 2 p.m.;  Thu., Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m.;  Fri., Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m.;   Sat., Dec. 2, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; and Sun., Dec. 3, 2 p.m.

Reconnect to your sense of wonder as San Antonio’s homegrown arts powerhouses, Ballet San Antonio and the San Antonio Symphony, team up to bring The Nutcracker to life on the Tobin Center for Performing Arts stage.  The traditional holiday ballet by Tchaikovsky features immediately recognizable music, over-the-top pantomime and graceful dancers in a package that delights young and old alike.  Tickets from $24.50.  More information at Tobin Nutcracker.

Concert in the Cave-Sounds of the Season

When:  Saturday, November 25, 2017,  7:00 p.m.

Enjoy Tinsel—an a cappella quartet—for sounds of the Christmas Season with contemporary classics and beloved carols.  Tinsel is not your average group of Christmas carolers; their roster includes Grammy® winners and classically trained vocalists.  Tinsel’s original arrangements of holiday favorites sparkle with sophistication, while respecting tradition and cherished memories.  Add a cool cave location with amazing acoustics to Tinsel’s unique sound for an unforgettable addition to your Christmas season.  More information and tickets at Cave Without a Name.

Hands on Chanukah

When: Thursday, November 30, 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Hands on Chanukah is back! This annual free family event will include crafts (dip-dye Chanukah candles!), activities, and snacks including latkes and applesauce, that will celebrate Chanukah.  While the event is free, RSVPs are requested. For more information or to RSVP, contact Rachel at 210-302-6969 or click on Barshop Jewish Community Center.

La Cantera Resort & Spa Holiday Tree Lighting and Free Jazz Concert

When: Thursday, November 30, 7:00 p.m. –9:00 p.m.

La Cantera Resort & Spa hosts a free jazz concert by Paul Taylor, internationally acclaimed jazz saxophonist. The concert coincides with the annual tree lighting ceremony on Plaza San Saba. Guests will enjoy free holiday treats, kids’ activities and photos with Santa. Donations will be accepted and proceeds will benefit a local children’s charity.  More information at La Cantera Resort and Spa Tree Lighting.

Ford Fiesta de Las Luminarias

When: Weekends beginning Friday, Dec. 1 – Sunday December 17 at dusk along 3 miles of the River Walk

Experience the holiday serenity of the River Walk strolling along the lush banks of the San Antonio River, guided by more than 2,000 Luminarias. This centuries-old tradition begins at dusk Friday, Saturday & Sunday only for three weekends in December. Luminarias are a traditional Mexican Christmas lantern, originally consisting of a candle set in sand inside a small bag.   These glow just as bright, but without the fire hazard.

Ford Holiday Boat Caroling

When: Weekends beginning Friday, December 1 – Friday, December 22, 6:15 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.; Tuesday – Thursday, 6:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.

Joyous caroling fills the evening air along the San Antonio River Walk as nearly a half dozen boats carry different performing groups along the river.  More than 185 school, church, company, and civic choral groups participate each year. The public is invited to stroll on the banks of the river or sit outdoors in a restaurant to enjoy the caroling.  More information about both events may be found at The San Antonio River Walk.

Gruene Christmas Market Days & Holiday Lighting

When:  Saturday, December 2nd; 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Cowboy Kringle and Lighting 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Get a start on your holiday shopping in Gruene when nearly 100 vendors converge on the downtown area offering Christmas gifts, uniquely crafted items and packaged Texas foods. Photos with Gruene’s own Cowboy Kringle may be taken during the Market Days event, with packages available for purchase. For more information, visit

At 5:00 p.m., watch as Cowboy Kringle rides into town on horseback and lights Gruene for the Holidays. Enjoy live musical performances with festival food and wine available for purchase. Afterwards, get some holiday shopping done at Gruene’s 30+ stores.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze

When:  Friday, December 8 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, December 9, 2 & 7:30 p.m.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze lights up the holiday season at the Tobin Center for Performing Arts with its critically acclaimed holiday stage extravaganza. It’s a cirque show, Broadway musical, and family Christmas spectacular all in one.  Witness snowmen, penguins, angels, reindeer, toy soldiers, gingerbread men, ornaments and of course Santa; with soaring acrobatics, gravity defying feats, elaborate production numbers, imaginative costumes, illusions and more. The show also celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with singers, original music and seasonal favorites all performed in a winter wonderland of amazement.  Tickets from $38.50.  More information at Tobin Cirque Dreams.

La Gran Tamalada

When:  Sunday, December 10, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m

The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center presents La Gran Tamalada, the annual community workshop that honors the tradition of making tamales on  at the Guadalupe Theater, 1301 Guadalupe St. The free event blends storytelling, the history of the tamalada and promotes cultural pride and lifelong learning. Children and adults participate in this hands-on opportunity to learn about the ingredients, recipes and cooking methods used in making this culturally iconic dish.  The Cortez Family, owners of the popular Mi Tierra restaurant, will share their love of family, tradition, and tamales with the community. More information at La Gran Tamalada.

Holiday Block Party at Quarry Village

When:  Thursday, December 15, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

This free, family-friendly event features a 15 x 15 foot play zone filled with real snow, a gorgeous Christmas tree lighting, live Christmas carolers, a Santa photo station, complimentary bites by area restaurants, wine, cocoa, and a cup of Christmas cheer (beer!) provided by Weathered Souls Brewing Co. A DJ, plus holiday sales and giveaways round out the evening. MBP Photobooth Co. will be providing complimentary photos with a pet-friendly Santa.  Just bring a Toys for Tots donation for your photo print out. More information at Quarry Village Holiday Block Party on Facebook.

Posted on November 21, 2017 at 8:28 pm
Judy Dunlap | Posted in Community, Seasonal Fun | Tagged

Make Your Home Staycation Ready

Sometimes there’s no place like home—which is why a staycation can make sense for busy families looking for some quality, no-stress downtime this summer. But staying home doesn’t have to mean status quo. With a little planning and a few budget-friendly purchases, you can have the best vacation ever—in your own backyard. So grab the sunscreen and a piña colada, and check out these tips for turning your home into your new favorite staycation spot.

Set the Scene

Think about the last time you visited a hotel you loved. What made it so special? Recreating this at home may sound difficult, but it often comes down to little touches that are inexpensive and fun to find. Love the fruit infused spa water at the hotel front desk? Bring the luxury home by purchasing a glass beverage dispenser and filling it with your favorite fruits (cucumber is good, too) and ice.  Even a large mason jar with a spout (Walmart, $14 – $30) can take staying hydrated to the luxe level.

Gauzy curtains floating in a tropical breeze make your last vacation sensationally relaxing? Hang a temporary rod and make a shady reading corner with a few sheer white panels (Target $5 – $20). Add a few large pillows, a soft outdoor-friendly carpet and pile up books for everyone to enjoy nearby.

Did you spend quality time reading in a hotel hammock swaying under palm trees in Hawaii? Buy an ENO hammock (Academy Sports, under $70) and snooze in suspended comfort all summer. The newer hammocks don’t require a Boy Scout badge in knot tying to hang–clips and straps make it a snap.

Did an evening of gazing into that special someone’s eyes across a roaring fire poolside make you melt? A mirrored tray with candles can set the mood at home, or go big with a portable table top fire pit, fueled by liquid propane, that will give you that warm glow (but without much heat) on a hot San Antonio summer night. (Lowe’s, $80).

Entertain the Kids

“I’m bored, Mom.”  Those three little words can turn a staycation into too much frustration.  Think outside the box this summer with these tips for keeping everyone occupied at home.

Large yard but no shade? With the temperature soaring, keep kids outside but out of the rays with a tent. The Ozark Trail 4-Person ConnecTent for Canopy (Walmart, $40) hooks onto your existing 10×10 straight leg canopy to add a little side room where kids of all ages can nap or let their imaginations run wild all day.  Stock your tent with pillows, a few props, a craft box, a small cooler with water, and a new detailed coloring book and colored pencils to keep little hands and minds busy.

What’s a vacation without a little golf? Skip the wait at Topgolf with an inclined slope putting green that will let your budding Jordan Spieth practice shots every day.  (Dick’s Sporting Goods, $50). Or blow the budget and go big with the “fun for the whole family” pool putting green, made from synthetic grass on a foam base, that allows you to practice lofting the perfect pitch over a water hazard and into the hole. (Frontgate, $500).

Have a pool and want to get the kids away from the computer and into the water for a little exercise disguised as fun? Set a budget and let them research and pick out a new water toy to take pooltime from “same old” to “swim-sational.” Kids especially love the floats that allow them to soak siblings and innocent bystanders with an endless supply of pool water.  (Walmart, $30)

Paradise Found

Staycation sounding great right about now, but you think your home needs more than a minor makeover to be the oasis you are imagining? We can help you with that! Upgrade to a permanent paradise with one of these amenity-packed properties for sale in San Antonio and enjoy a get-away every day for years to come.

Enjoy private outdoor living with views of the hill country and downtown at 21207 Harvest Hills. Pool cabana has an outdoor living area, full bath, fireplace and summer kitchen. 3 bedrooms/ 2 baths/ 2 half baths offered at $612,000.


Come home to country living in the city with this estate home at 16223 Axis Trail in Hill Country Village. Country club backyard features swimming pool with stone coping and a full tennis court.  5 bedrooms/ 5 baths/ 1 half bath.  Offered at $1,200,000.


24811 Birdies Green
Perfect staycation 4 bedroom/3 bath/2 half bath home in Canyon Springs features sparkling pool, spa, and convenient cabana bath.  Offered at $495,000.

Posted on July 3, 2017 at 5:25 pm
Judy Dunlap | Posted in Seasonal Fun | Tagged , , ,

Destination: San Antonio Staycation!

Did your last vacation leave you more stressed than refreshed? Did the packing, the slow-moving security lines at the airport, or the rowdy wedding party that kept your kids up all night at the hotel make you wish you had just stayed home? Well, the good news is—you don’t have to go away to get away. San Antonio is a great destination, and we are lucky enough to live here! With a little staycation planning, it’s easy to make the most of what the city has to offer. And with a few purchases and a little imagination, you can turn your home into a relaxing retreat, so it’s “5:00 somewhere” in your own backyard all summer.

The River Walk is only the beginning of what you can do in San Antonio this summer.

While Six Flags, SeaWorld and the Witte Museum are great, chances are you’ve already been there, done that. A staycation is the perfect time to shake it up and venture a little further afield. This week, we will help you jump start your planning with several cool (and Dunlap Team tested) things to do in the Alamo City. (Check back next week as we show you how to make your home a staycation-worthy paradise.) Click on any of the green establishment names to be directed to their website.

Cool Caving

If you grew up in San Antonio, you no doubt visited one of the nearby caves during an elementary school field trip. But have you ever attended a concert in one? The Cave Without A Name in Boerne offers a calendar of events that includes music and theater. A fellow agent attended a string-quartet performance there and raved about the beauty of the setting and the sound. Check out a performance by Terri Hendrix with Lloyd Maines on July 1st at 7:30 pm.  The cave is located at 325 Kreutzberg Rd., Boerne, TX.

To continue the cave theme, Bracken Cave, located less than 20 miles from downtown San Antonio, is the summer home to more than 15 million Mexican free-tailed bats, making it the world’s largest bat colony, and a sight to see when they emerge en masse from the cave at dusk. To attend a viewing this summer, you must be a member of Bat Conservation International, and then get your hands on tickets, which are already selling out quickly for the next few months. But it is worth the time to make this one happen.

 Music and Roosters

Luckenbach gives people watching new meaning.

Luckenbach Texas is a perennial favorite with fans of country music acts, but the little 1849 trading post turned dance hall, where “Everybody’s Somebody,” is more than just a place to see Cody Canada and Kevin Fowler. (Although that’s not bad, either.) Open year-round with live music daily, a general store and a bar, Luckenbach offers a place to sit in the shade under 500-year-old oaks to people-watch and relax while enjoying a free acoustic outdoor show. Kids love watching the chickens that wander freely among the picnic tables. Bring your favorite stringed instrument to join the Thursday night Picker Circle, or check out one of their many day-long festivals, like the upcoming Hill Country Food Truck Festival, featuring food trucks and Texas wines this Saturday, June 24th. Auto enthusiasts should add the August 26th LuckenRod Classic Car & Rod Show to their calendar.

Get Crafty

Know your porters from your stouts? (Does anyone?) Hops make you happy? How about a tour of a few of the local breweries crafting sensational beers right in your backyard. Sit outside under the Hay Street Bridge at Alamo Beer Company on Lamar St. and enjoy a pint at a picnic table, pitch some washers, hear live music, or nosh on food truck fare. Go on a Thursday for a brewery tour at 6 pm, then stay for “Beer, Bacon and Bingo” from 6:30 – 9 pm. Pet friendly Busted Sandal Brewing Company at 71114 Oaklawn Dr. welcomes visitors to their tasting room and brewery Wednesday to Friday from 5 – 9 pm and Saturdays from 2 – 9 pm. Every Wednesday is Customer Loyalty Pint Night—bring in your Busted Sandal pint glass or buy a new one and they’ll fill ’er up for $3. (Extra points for checking out Sangria on the Burg, right down the street at 5115 Fredricksburg Road, for some of chef Julio Sanchez’ delicious fare and one of their eponymous fruit-forward beverages.) Freetail Brewing Company’s original 4035 Loop 1604 W. location is right around the corner from our new Phyllis Browning offices, and offers a full compliment of brews, pizzas and a pretty view of sunset from the patio. But across town, Freetail’s new South Presa brewery is taking things to the next level with a big “bring-your-own bites” tasting room and tours Thursday through Saturday. It’s also where you can tap into drop-in yoga classes hosted by Mobile Om every Thursday night. Ranger Creek Brewing at 4834 Whirlwind Dr. bills itself as Texas’ only “brewstillery.” They offer a unique, educational tour where you can learn how they make their beer and bourbon on Saturdays from 2 – 4 pm. Time your visit right to check out their monthly Pizza Night, when Vero Wood Fired Pizza is on-site with their 750 degree oven imported from Italy to fire your pizza in 90 seconds!

Farm to Table

You’ve been meaning to do it for a while, but now is your chance to stop putting it off and make that trip to the Pearl Farmers Market. It really is as good as the publicity makes it sound, with over 45 vendors from within a 150-mile radius selling produce, meat, eggs, baked goods, cheeses (don’t miss CKC Farms’ goat cheese, from their happy Blanco herd) and other products and treats. Saturdays for 9 am – 1 pm and Sundays from 10 am – 2 pm, you’ll find music, families picnicking on the grassy lawn, kids running through the fountain area, and more dog breeds than you likely knew existed. Eat in one of the surrounding restaurants to cool off or shop surrounding specialty boutiques for that hard-to-find gift you know you’re going to need at the last minute. Make a day of it with a walk along the river to the lock and dam to delight the engineer in your life while taking in the art installations along the way.

The perfect staycation begins with the perfect home. 135 Champions Bend offers a hotel feel with a gorgeous modern pool and outdoor kitchen. See more of this lovely home by clicking here. #for sale #DunlapRealEstateTeam #TheVeryBest

Have your own great idea for a staycation outing? Let us know. And watch for next week’s staycation continuation!

Posted on June 22, 2017 at 8:26 pm
Judy Dunlap | Posted in Community, Seasonal Fun | Tagged ,