Planning an Amtrak Trip Across Texas

There’s no reason to go far-out to have a nice vacation: for example, a trip through Texas can be filled with amazing sights and encounters while still making you feel as if you never left your neighborhood. If you’re going on a Texas-wide expedition, Amtrak trains will probably be the best way to get from one place to another. The tickets are fairly cheap, the trains are modern, and the rides are swift yet laid-back enough to let you enjoy the Lone Star State’s scenery in all its glory.

You probably won’t have to spend too much time packing your luggage – trains let you carry a lot, and you’ll easily be able to purchase whatever you’re missing in any part of the state. Figuring out how to cover everything in one trip might be difficult, though – for a single state, Texas has an astounding amount of places to see. Here are some events, buildings and zones you can’t afford to miss on your Amtrak trip.

Amtrak

The Millennium Park in Chicago

A city famous for its industrial prowess, Chicago still manages to surprise with its many different natural areas that will make you want to bust out a picnic blanket. Millenium Park is one such place – free entry to one of the nicest parks in all of the U.S. seems like a pretty good deal. When you’re not admiring the nature enriching the Park, you’ll be admiring the various artistic sculptures and architectural ingenuities it boasts.

A San Antonio Spurs game in San Antonio

Like basketball or not, there’s one thing you can’t deny: the players stay active. If you’re visiting San Antonio, you should have no trouble matching your visit to a Spurs game – they play several times per week during every season. Seeing San Antonio’s iconic basketball team in action will definitely be a worthwhile experience even if you’re not all that into the sport – considering they were the NBA champions as late as 2014, there’s a pretty good chance the game won’t lack in excitement, too.

The State Capitol in Austin

Since Austin is home to the state’s imposing Capitol building, you’ll probably want to visit it during your trip. In fact, a plain visit just won’t do – aim to get in on one of the many tours of the city and its Capitol that are organized daily. You can get a complete small-group tour of Austin for less than $30, but if you really want to treat yourself, make sure to go for a Segway tour of the Capitol itself – you’ll pay a bit more, but the ride will be worth every penny.

The Symphony Center in Dallas

Dallas’ Morton H. Meyer Symphony Center is one of the most popular structures of this type in the country – day in and day out, the virtuosos there will work hard to deliver the best music humanity can produce. You can opt to have a tour of the place or purchase a seat during one of the concerts – needless to say, the latter option will be far more memorable if you can manage it via an Amtrak train.

Off Roading in San Antonio: Best Places for 4×4

To many, there’s no engine like the 4×4 engine. The power of these drives has created some amazing extreme-sports opportunities for off roading and has also given birth to the iconic all-terrain vehicle(ATV).

If you own an ATV, you’ve no doubt wanted to test its considerable limits on the appropriate terrain—muddy, slippery, challenging and maybe even dangerous off roading landscapes. If you don’t own an ATV… well, you probably always wanted to drive one, so you might want to check out these Texas off roading places. The mere fact that many of them offer little more than mud and dirt and yet still make for popular destinations should be enough to pique your interest.

off roading in san antonio

General Sam’s ATV & Offroad Park

What does the General have in store for you? Probably a whole lot of fun if you own an ATV or another 4×4 vehicle. While this Huntsville park won’t provide you with the vehicles, you’ll get the next most important thing—a wild and muddy zone where you can let loose while cranking up the gas. Other than ATVs, pick-up trucks and similar vehicles are a common sight and might be preferred by those who don’t enjoy being drenched in dirt – if you’re planning to ride an ATV, you’d best bring your gardening clothes.

Hidden Falls Adventure Park

This park has less mud and more beautiful nature, making it great if you’d like to do some sightseeing on top of wild driving. The terrain is also more varied, featuring the perfect mixture of dirt, grassy terrain and rocky formations. Unlike some similar locations, Hidden Falls Park offers ATV rentals, meaning it’s a nice destination if you were struck by a sudden itch for 4×4 madness—the rentals are a bit pricey, however, so be warned. Due to the lush nature in several areas and the relatively low amount of people, the park is also a fairly popular place to set up a tent.

Creekside Offroad Ranch

Do you find most 4×4 off roading places too tame and feel as if you could really use a dirty adventure? Look no further than Creekside. Here, if your ATV or pick-up doesn’t get stuck in the mud, you’re not trying—in fact, some areas are best not ventured into if you don’t know how to swim. What sets this ranch apart from similar locations is its camping appeal – other than letting you set up tents and stay for lengthy periods of time, the park also has an RV site with electricity and clean water for those times when you feel like you could use a break from all the riding dirty.

Xtreme Off Road Park and Beach

This Crosby gem is the opposite of Hidden Falls Adventure Park – it has no shortage of fun-loving individuals crowding the place and showing off their 4×4 handling skills. If you ever want to race someone through the mud, this is the place to test your skills—other than competition and ample social opportunities, you’ll also find spots to camp, fish, and do everything else that makes for a great outdoors vacation in the company of powerful engines.

Emme Nailspa: Best Nail Salon in San Antonio

There’s not much that beats a spa treatment. After a long day of working, some time to yourself to relax and rejuvenate your body is well deserved. In a city the size of San Antonio, nail salons are numerous. But don’t be overwhelmed- we found the best one. If you are looking for top-of-the-line treatments along with unbeatable customer service, Emme Nailspa is the place for you. Located in the center of the Eilan, Emme is perfectly situated between two of San Antonio’s most popular shopping spots: the Rim and La Cantera. So when you’re out and about shopping and need a place to unwind, stop in and check it out!

Emme Nailspa prides itself on its special effect nails, which the owner, Deborah Luscomb, imports from London. From mermaid to chrome to glass to marble to jeweled nail effects, Emme has every nail treatment you could imagine. These enhanced nails are not something that many salons can offer. In fact, earlier this month, Kendra Scott hosted an event at Emme and the salon is hoping to become the sole San Antonio carrier of her products in the near future. But even their most basic manicures and pedicures are luxurious, using lotions and oils that Deborah makes herself. Treatments range from these $25 simple manicures which include moisturizing and massaging all the way up to treatments with hot towels, gel polish, special effects, you name it.

Emme Nailspa’s owner, Deborah Luscomb

Deborah Luscomb is a California native who bought the salon a few months ago. She is a licensed aesthetician and, as a longtime customer prior to purchasing the salon, recognized that there was something unique about Emme. “I just fell in love with the place,” she said. “It’s not a traditional salon, it’s much more of a personal experience.” And she’s right. Emme Nailspa puts a lot of effort into its first-class customer service. The employees make a point of talking to and getting to know their customers. Unlike most salons, you won’t find any TVs here. Also unlike most salons, you will find conversation and community.

Speaking of community, Emme loves reaching out to the San Antonio area. They visit local beauty schools and talk to the students about job opportunities. Many of their customers are locals who come back time and time again because they know that Emme can’t be beat. They often rent the salon out to local companies for events. With its gorgeous, classy interior, it’s also ideal for bridal parties. Not to mention that they serve wine.

But unique nails, wonderful employees, and a love for locals isn’t all Emme has to offer. Their treatments reach well beyond manicures and pedicures. They have high quality waxing, hair and eyelash extension services as well. Emme Nailspa recently added Henna tattoos to their long list of services, and they’re looking to add facials as well.

Appointments are recommended for the spa and can be made online, so don’t wait to schedule your visit- it will definitely be worth it. You’ve earned a break, and we highly recommend that you take it at the Eilan’s Emme Nailspa.

Fishing in Texas: Hooking Your Summer Catch

Texas contains approximately 80,000 miles of rivers and streams, comprising forty-one major waterways. These waters range from clear, fast-flowing hill country streams to turbid, slow-moving bayous. Fishing success often slows on Texas reservoirs during the summer, but may remain excellent on rivers.

It’s important to note that there are 2 licenses are needed for fishing in Texas. The first is called the Conservation license. This is a prerequisite a person must have before being allowed to obtain a fishing license. The Conservation license can be obtained from the Fish, Wildlife & Parks or FWP. This is done by giving one’s social security number and other information that is requested. A valid driver’s license with photo must also be presented for security purposes for the license to be processed. Once that is done, a fishing license can be acquired which is neither non-transferable nor non-refundable and is only valid for one year.

fishing in texas

Fly Fishing

Fly fishing in the state of Texas doesn’t have the common popularity as a location of choice when it comes to experienced fly fishers. Many people think the rivers and streams of classic mountain country are the better choices. The truth is that you can find some amazing fly fishing in Texas – when you know where to go.

Rockport, Texas, is a great place to fly fish in salt water. There are seven major bay systems that dot the Texas coastline which makes it a great fly fishing destination. Sea grass carpets much of the shallows in the bay system providing an ideal hiding place for fish. It also acts as a filter draining out impurities and making the living environment perfect for fish. Here, you’ll find fish like speckled trout, red fish, black drum, and flounder.

You will find some amazing trout fishing along the Guadalupe River. This river is located between Austin and San Antonio and is the southernmost fresh water trout fishery in the United States. The river is stocked with many varieties of trout. They have a catch and release regulation on the river to help keep the trout plentiful from year to year.

When fishing the Guadalupe, keep in mind that many of the best spots are accessible only by crossing private lands. You can often find people who are more than willing to allow you access, but be prepared to pay a small fee to do so. There are some public access points you can take advantage of, however, so look for these first.

Other Fishing Locations

In addition to Rockport and along the Guadalupe River, the Blanco River is also a classic hill country river varying from a deep, wide river to merely a trickle in places. The banks are lined with cypress trees which makes the scenery along this river absolutely beautiful. Species you can fish for here include a variety of bass and perch. Access is easy and the fishing is good year-round.

The major drainage flowing through Texas hill country is the Colorado River located about 60 miles north of Austin. During the winter and the spring, the bass are plentiful as they migrate out of Lake Buchanan and up the river. You will have to pay a small daily fee to fish the Colorado. But, it’s well worth your time and money!

While many people don’t think of Texas as prime fly fishing country, it actually is a great place to fish for bass and trout. Once the word gets out about the great fly fishing in Texas, it’s only a matter of time before it ranks right up there with Colorado and Washington in popularity.

Packing Tips for Summer Camping

Camping is a pretty unique experience in San Antonio, TX. You get to spend time away from the hustle of city life. Do you want to see a spectacular sight? Then sit or lie down under a night sky full of brilliant stars, they seem close enough to reach out and touch them. Whether you are planning a long or short getaway, you never know what you are going to run into or what you may need. Be sure to utilize these packing tips and tricks for a trip into the wilderness.

packing tips

Packing Tips for Camping

We understand that one of the potential summer vacation headaches is packing. If it’s a family camping trip, trying to coordinate everyone’s luggage can be challenging, and it’s often hard to find things you need on the road and once you get to your destination.

To make things easier, first consider divvying up everyone’s luggage into categories. Each person can have his or her category, and within those categories there can be sub-categories. Then there can be a category for shared items. For example, your teen’s list might include toiletries, entertainment (such as an iPod), casual clothes, dress clothes, night clothes, shoes. Dad’s list might look a little different, and might include dress clothes, casual clothes, night clothes, maps and/or GPS, books, and toiletries. For combined items, choose one big duffle bag or suitcase in which you can put your common things.

Next, remember the words, “roll, don’t fold.” An interesting thing happens when you tightly roll clothes instead of folding them. If you smooth the garments while you roll them tightly, they are not nearly as prone to wrinkling. You may also find that you can fit a lot more clothing into your luggage this way.

Packing Equipment

Test all of your equipment before you head out. Be sure you know how your camp stove works and bring plenty of fuel. Do you lanterns work, is your tent complete? Bring along several nylon bags to store your gear, and don’t forget the water purification tablets and a water bladder in case you are not near a reliable source of drinking source. Plan your meals ahead of time. You want to be sure you have enough food.

It’s so easy to forget the little things. Here are some suggestions for little items that are easily forgotten, but which can make or break a vacation. Be sure to remember these items: Camera, Antibiotic ointment, Band-Aids, All prescription medications (also, make sure you have enough to carry you through your vacation, and find out if/where you can refill at your destination), Sunglasses, Insect repellent, After-bite treatment (such as Cortisone ointment) and Feminine products.

Finally, a particular area where people pack way too much is footwear. Again, we are talking about a vacation—and camping. Vacation is a word that carries a definite connotation of comfort. Flip flops and tennis shoes should pretty much cut it for any trip unless you are going hiking.

Final Thoughts

Many camping experts strongly suggest you pack the absolute minimum possible when camping. It makes for light traveling. If you need something, you can always buy it along the way.

Fun in the Sun: Activities for Summer in San Antonio

Summer is the happiest time for those who love the heat of the sun in San Antonio, TX. A lot of people go to the beach or the lake to swim, to play some sports, or simply to achieve a nice tanned skin. If you’re searching for some family-friendly activities to keep the kids preoccupied during the summer season, consider some of these options—these are also well-suited to help adults stay fit and active.

Summer Sports Activities

Summer sports like baseball, tennis, and volleyball are always fun for all ages. You don’t have to enroll in an official team or competition (although that’s fine too!); you can just play these sports for fun at your local ballpark or rec center. If you’ve never done any summer sports before, make this the year you learn. Sign up for lessons and learn a new skill while getting fit.

Additionally, from Frisbee to horseshoes, lawn games are a time-honored way for people to “take exercise.” You might even be able to get the neighborhood involved in a friendly competition. Here are some of the more popular lawn games: badminton, horseshoes, frisbee, corn hole, and croquet.

You can also enjoy roller blading on any warm summer evening. If you don’t have that kind of skate-friendly surroundings, go to a track or park. Meet up with friends to keep it fun, and it won’t feel so much like exercise. Consider pads and other gear for optimal safety and comfort.

Outdoor Activities

Outdoor water fun is definitely a summer thing. Depending on the activity, it can be an inexpensive activity to get started with, and whole families can participate. The most basic way to enjoy water in the summer is to find a pool and go swimming. Not a swimmer? Then enroll in water aerobics classes, or use a kick-board to navigate the pool. Here are some other water fun activities for the summer: jet skiing, water skiing, rafting and kayaking and canoeing.

Mountain climbing and hiking are also best conducted during the summer. It will be easier to climb steep slopes and paths when the ground is dry. You will hardly feel the heat because you will be surrounded by trees. If the youth group chooses to do this activity, they must see to it that a guide is present to ensure the group’s safety.

Do you have a stable nearby where you can pay for a ride? Or perhaps you’d like to take up horseback riding lessons. No matter how you choose to get on a horse, it’s a fun activity that can strengthen core muscles and burn calories. Just make sure you stick with your experience level, and have a guide with you.

Or, do you normally hire someone to do your yard work? How about gardening—if you don’t have a garden, why not start one this year? Kids love to get involved and dig around in the dirt. Not to mentioned, gardening can really burn some calories and strengthen muscles. Digging, mowing, trimming, hoeing and so forth all provide a decent workout.

No matter what you decide to do this summer, just be sure to get active and most importantly, have fun!

Movie Nights Around San Antonio: Local Theaters

Movies bring our imaginations to life. There’s nothing better than getting lost in a movie, fully consumed and connected to the characters, the storyline, the villains, and of course, the heroes. Not only are movies great to watch by yourself, but they’re even better when you get to enjoy them with the people you care about—whether it’s during a family movie night, a girls night out, or a date night.

Thanks to an abundance of technology in today’s world, we now have a wide variety of ways we can enjoy movies: Netflix, Hulu, Redbox, Amazon Video, Google Play Video, and much, much more. While all of these make it easy to cuddle up on the comfort of your own couch and enjoy the latest releases, many of us still love to experience a night out of the house at one of our local movie theaters. Lucky for local San Antonians, our city has a long list of movie theaters in the area, including standard movie theaters, dine-in movie theaters, and drive-in movie theaters.

So whether you like action, adventure, romance, chick-flicks, or a good old fashioned horror movie, it’s easy to plan the perfect movie night in San Antonio.

Standard Movie Theater

San Antonio has no shortage of movie theaters spread out throughout the city. We’ve compiled a list of the standard movie theaters to help you locate the one nearest to you.

  • Regal Cinemas Alamo Quarry 16: Alamo Quarry Market, 255 E Basse Rd, San Antonio, TX 78209
  • Santikos Palladium IMAX: 17703 I-10, San Antonio, TX 78257
  • Regal Cinemas Cielo Vista 18 & RPX: 2828 Cinema Ridge, San Antonio, TX 78238
  • Regal Cinemas Northwoods 14: 17640 Henderson Pass, San Antonio, TX 78232
  • Regal Cinemas Huebner Oaks 14 & RPX: 11075 I-10, San Antonio, TX 78230
  • AMC Rivercenter 11 with Alamo IMAX: 849 E Commerce St #800, San Antonio, TX 78205
  • Regal Fiesta Stadium 16: 12631 Vance Jackson Rd, San Antonio, TX 78230
  • Cinemark McCreless Market: 4224 S New Braunfels Ave, San Antonio, TX 78223
  • Cinemark Movies 16: 5063 NW Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78229
Photo credit: sailor_smb via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Dine-In Movie Theaters

A new trend in movie venues is dine-in movie theaters. Forget going to dinner and a movie, how ’bout dinner during the movie? These dine-in locations bring convenience to you by providing everything you need in one place. You’ll find gourmet food, mixed drinks, beer on tap, and of course, a movie.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

There are multiple Alamo Drafthouse locations spread out around San Antonio. Alamo Drafthouse in a nation-wide dine-in movie theater chain that takes movie viewing to the next level. You’ll find “Cold beer, hot movies, and delicious snacks and meals.” The Alamo Drafthouse is dinner, drinks, movies and events, all under one roof. Our attention to detail in film presentation and programming has made us a second home to movie fans all over the planet and earned accolades from the likes of Entertainment Weekly (#1 theater in America), Wired.com (Coolest Movie Theater in the World) and Fandango.com (One of the Best Theaters in the Country).”

For more information and showtimes, visit Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

Santikos

If you’re looking to enjoy a good movie while also contributing to a great local cause, Santikos Entertainment venues provide just that. With eight locations in the San Antonio area, Santikos are art-house style movie theaters that offer a full food & drink menu, plus table seating & wait service. Not only that, but the company is San Antonio-based: “Santikos Entertainment, as part of the estate of the late John L. Santikos, was gifted to the John L Santikos Charitable Foundation in 2015, marking it as the largest single charitable donation in the history of San Antonio and in the United States that year.  Santikos Entertainment now exists for the sole benefit of the communities in which it operates. The dollars spent on movie tickets and amenities are funneled back into the local community in the form of donations, sponsorships, grants and programming that educate, cure, support and otherwise enhance lives of the citizens that support Santikos Entertainment.”

To find out more and check showtimes, visit Santikos Entertainment.

City Base Cinema

With just one single location in San Antonio, City Base Cinema still has a lot to offer. If you’re looking to venue that veers away from the typical large-chain theaters, this may be just what you’ve been searching for.”At City Base, enjoy everything from White Castle sliders to delicious, gourmet popcorn. Also, enjoy ice cold beer and specialty drinks.”

Ready to check it out? Visit City Base Cinema for showtimes and additional information.

Photo credit: osseous via Foter.com / CC BY

Drive-In Movie Theaters

Drive-in movie theaters are a classic tradition that luckily still has a place in San Antonio. Pull your car up on the line, order food and drinks to your door, and enjoy the show. If you’d like to embrace this old school venue during your next movie night, head over to the Stars and Stripes Drive-In Theatre, located just outside of San Antonio in New Braunfels. The drive-in is open year-round. For the full experience you should plan to arrive an hour prior to your showtime.

For more information, visit Stars and Stripes Drive-In Theatre.

Photo credit: ohhector via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

At-Home Movie Night Dates

Sometimes, a night cuddled up on a cozy couch is better than a night out on the town. As we discussed earlier, it’s easy to bring the hottest blockbuster movies right into your own home. The next time you gather around the tv with your loved ones, be sure you have these movie night essentials:

  • Candy (lots of it)
  • Popcorn (extra butter, of course)
  • Drinks (soda, juice, water, beer, wine—whatever pairs best with your feature film)
  • A blanket (the fluffier, the better)
  • Tissues (for those romantic comedies and dramatic endings)
  • And of course, your imagination


Thinking about planning a movie night for Valentine’s Day? Don’t forget to check out our other date night tips and Valentine’s Day gift ideas in How to Plan the Perfect Valentine’s Day in San Antonio. Also, don’t forget to share all of our favorite movie night experiences with us on the San Antonio Daily Sun Facebook Page.

Luxury Hotels in San Antonio

The city of refreshing waters, San Antonio, has so much to offer to everyone. Richly decorated with natural flamboyance the San Antonio located in Texas enthralls the visitors with its many faces and sides. Many visitors come to the city to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Many others come to participate in the events and other important business and commercial activities. Whatever your reason is for visiting the city, you’re sure to leave you with the memories of a lifetime. When visiting, be sure to scope out the best luxury hotels in San Antonio.

luxury hotels in san antonio

Tourists Visiting San Antonio

As one of the most popular tourist destination in the United State, San Antonio has so much to offer.The jewel of the city is the River Walk, which meanders through the downtown area. Lined with numerous shops, bars, restaurants, as well as the Arneson River Theater. This attraction is transformed into an impressive festival of lights during the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

If we consider the facts the Alamo is Texas’ top tourist attraction, while the River Walk is the second most visited attraction. There is so much to see and so much to do in the city that you will always wonder to plan your daily schedule.

One of the major tourist attractions in the city is the Fairmount Hotel. Built in 1906, it is in the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the heaviest buildings ever moved intact. HemisFair Park, the Spanish Governors palace, and many world class museums and performing arts theaters also call San Antonio home. All this is equally complimented by the nightlife and events taking place in the city. This city is definitely one such place which you would definitely like to visit.

Growing City for Tourism

With the increasing number of tourist each year, there are lots of luxury hotels in San Antonio. There are also plenty of vacation resorts in the area. These all cater to the needs of the tourists from across the globe. The service you will get in these hotels is exceptional. And that is amongst the things which you will miss on your trip back.

Although the city offers many discount hotels and other such places, it is the luxury hotels in this place that offer the services of the highest quality. The first thing you will experience is the heartwarming welcome you will receive at your arrival.

The service in such hotels is exceptional and is well complimented by the facilities provided by the hotels. You can get what you want from airport pickup and drop facility to fully air-conditioned suits to world class swimming pools, spas, gyms and golf courses. The restaurants here offer the finest delicacies from across the globe and suit every taste bud.

So that is another factor which will imprint on your mind. If you are in the city and your budget is not holding you back then unleash yourself on your vacations with the excellent luxury hotels in San Antonio.

To learn more, check out VisitSanAntonio.com.

Final Four 2018: San Antonio’s Hosts March Madness

March Madness is still a month away and yet fans are already getting excited. College basketball season is now in full swing, and predictions are being made. Who will win it all? Who will be the Cinderella story? While March Madness happens all across the country, Texans should be especially excited for this year’s tournament. Two Texas cities will be host to a weekend of games—starting with Dallas for the First/Second Rounds on March 15-16. Then, weeks later, San Antonio will host the Final Four taking place on March 31 and April 2.

Before the madness begins, let’s take a look back at the history of the tournament.

final four san antonio

History of the Final Four

The term “Final Four” is often used to describe the final four teams remaining in a sports playoff tournament. The term is most widely used in conjunction with the final four teams participating in the annual NCAA basketball tournament. In 1974, the first public random drawing for Final Four game tickets was held. In 1975, the official NCAA publication featured the term “Final Four” for the first time as a 32-team bracket was accepted under the terms that no conference could be represented by more than two teams. By 1981, the NCAA decided to register a trademark for the “Final Four” term with a first use stated to be in 1978.

Over the next several years, the Final Four competitions became more and more popular with a greater demand for tickets and an increasing number of fans in attendance. As basketball fans scrambled to obtain Final Four tickets, players prepared for a tournament that they would hope to participate in. By 1983, the league decided that the venue, which would be chosen to hold the Final Four competition, must consist of a minimum of 17,000 seats.

With the computer industry gaining in popularity, the first computerized random drawing was held by the NCAA for the public’s allotment of Final Four competition tickets. In 1989, the NCAA committee determined that three of the next four competition facilities should offer a minimum capacity of 30,000 seats.

Rules of the Tournament

The NCAA determined that no team could play on their home court. This established the precedent for holding the annual tournaments on a neutral court for all teams involved. In 1990, the general public was limited to purchasing no more than two Final Four tickets. By 1996, the internet age was becoming the “norm” for newsworthy reports and, as such, the Final Four website was created. By 2003, the Final Four seating capacity was increased to 40,000 for any venue being chosen to host the annual NCAA tournaments.

San Antonio to Host March Madness 2018

Attendance at Final Four tournament games has filled arenas to nearly full capacity and done so in all-time record fashion. With no signs of slowing down, the NCAA and the Final Four tournaments are sure to continue packing the house with cheering fans hoping to see their favorite team advance to the championship. This year, local San Antonians will have their opportunity to a front row seat to the action.

For more information, visit NCAA.com.

DIY Carpet Cleaning Tips for the New Year

Remember what your brand new carpet looked like when you first had it installed? Frustrated that only a short time later it looks like it needs to be replaced again? Keeping your carpet clean and looking new is no longer an easy job. To get the most wear out of your carpet in the New Year, use the following DIY carpet cleaning tips.

DIY carpet cleaning

DIY Carpet Cleaning

Regular upkeep is vital to the life of your carpet. By vacuuming your carpet weekly and not allowing shoes to be worn in your house, you can extend the life of your carpet by five years or more. Vacuuming regularly keeps dirt and grime from becoming ground in to the carpet fibers. Allowing only socks or slippers on your carpet keeps it from becoming soiled by hard to remove stains such as mud and oils.

If your carpet does become stained or overly dirty, there are numerous homemade products and easy carpet cleaning tips that you can use to make it look new again.

When cleaning the entire carpeted area, always use a warm water solution. The warm water allows the grime and oils to be broken down more quickly and completely. For the cleaning solution you can use any of the numerous commercial products available but a simple mix of water and vinegar works just as well. The white vinegar will pull residue from the fibers making your carpet softer and cleaner.

Tackling Tough Stains

For stains, there are numerous treatments. Club soda works great on red wine stains. Brake cleaner works great on tough food stains and WD40 works great on oil or grease spots.

To use brake cleaner, simply apply the cleaner to a cloth and then blot the stain. Once the stain is removed rinse the area with a vinegar and water solution.

To use WD40, simple spray the stained area and allow the cleaner to sit for 30 minutes. Blot the area dry and then rinse it well with a mixture of dish soap and water.

The best carpet cleaning tip for removing general stains is shaving cream. Shaving cream, when applied directly to the stain and allowed to set for 30 minutes, will remove just about every type of stain. After the cream has set, gently blot it away with a dry white cloth. Be sure to rinse the area with a vinegar and water solution after cleaning.

When cleaning a carpet stain it is important to remember to blot the affected area and never rub it. Rubbing causes the particles to ground into the carpet fibers and it can also lead to the premature breakdown of those fibers.

Additional Cleaning Advice

By using these simple DIY carpet cleaning tips you can make carpet cleaning and upkeep a breeze. Plus, you can save money on products and still have clean carpets that you are proud to show. For additional tips on carpet cleaning and upkeep, be sure to read our articles, Spring Cleaning Tips and How to Keep Your Carpets Clean This Fall.