In my 40s, I have become somewhat complacent about lots of things: where I eat, where I get my coffee, my beauty regimen, where I shop for my clothes, where I go for outings with the kids, and yes, even what I watch on television (die-hard true crime here). After moving back to the Alamo City after a decades-long absence, I realized that a whole new world had opened up to me and that I was missing it all because of fear. Fear of trying new things, fear of not knowing what to hear, fear of whether I would fit into this new scene. But here’s the thing: fear is BS. What I realized is that we grow by the very experiences we have, and experiences do not happen by staying still. So I committed to getting out and doing more. The problem was, I didn’t know where to start.
Enter the world of Instagram.
For the past year, I have followed lots of accounts, but none were more influential in my journey to get out and try new things like the following cast of people. What follows are the 10 accounts that I lean on for ideas, information, and inspiration on how to experience and explore San Antonio:
When I moved back to San Antonio last July, one of the first influencers I leaned on to reacquaint myself with San Antonio was @alamofoodie. Her Instagram feeds, which are often written with an eclectic mix of humor and quick-witted intellect, opened up a world of local eateries that pushed me out of my comfort zone. What I have grown to love most about @alamofoodie is her fervent passion for promoting San Antonio local businesses. Her love of food and drink combined with her mission to bring visibility to the backbone of San Antonio—the small business owner—is not just a hobby; it is what drives her. This busy mom of three beautiful girls is also intentional about promoting a mix of family-friendly establishments as well as local date night must-try experiences. While @alamofoodie uses her influence to get the people of San Antonio to go local, she also entices her readers with generous weekly giveaways to the local eateries that she strives to promote.
Favorite place in San Antonio: Backyard on Broadway for the amazing kid-friendly play areas for children and for the hospitality that San Antonio (and Texans) are known for.
The words “aesthetically pleasing” race to mind anytime something pops up on my feed from @thewanderingbearded. He casts out images that could come straight out of The Cigar Aficionado, which will make you want to dust off your passport and pack your bags. Dave, the influencer behind @thewanderingbearded, knows a thing or two about travel. He has visited 25 countries and speaks four different languages. A full-time corporate businessman, he initially began this journey to simply share his travel experiences with the world. Now, though, he is motivated by inspiring others to get out to see, feel, and do what the world around us has to offer. If his images leave you wanting for more, stay tuned for his next project, a podcast! You can also follow his adventures at www.thewanderingbearded.com.
Favorite place in San Antonio: The Pearl, for its European essence and for bringing people together for no other reason than one another’s company.
What started out as an outlet to help mend her broken heart, turned into so much more than @sanantoniostephanie could have expected. She started her Instagram feed as a way to make up for and celebrate the life she missed while waiting, a symptom of being in a long-distance relationship. A bold harmony of life, laughter, fun, and food, her feed will make you want to take life by the horns and steer it. She had me at “Fancy AF,” a post that originally caught my attention of @sanantoniostephanie seated on a silk, posh armchair, beer bottle in hand. She is bold, and from the outset you just know that she colors outside the lines and makes no apologies for it. Those are the kinds of people who change the world. This single mom of two leverages her influence to remind fellow San Antonians to get out and live their very best lives, and that’s a message we can all learn from.
Favorite place in San Antonio: @sanantoniostephanie enjoys all the wonderful things that The Pearl has to offer.
If you haven’t noticed, things got a lot hotter in San Antonio! Taking the Alamo City by storm, this group of Latina ladies are cooking up all the drama and intrigue you can expect from a reality TV series. We can learn a lot from this show. Not only are these @Texicanas women shattering the stereotypes you might hold of Mexican women, but they provocatively challenge the gender order of society. You won’t just find them preparing family meals or waiting in the car-line at school. The women of @Texicanas are entrepreneurs, social influencers, and also help lead the work of local charitable initiatives. They do it all in the backdrop of what is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, San Antonio.
What makes me and many women come back for more? These group of Mexican women model vulnerability so impeccably that you forget they belong to an echelon of San Antonio society that’s unfamiliar to most of us. Collectively, these ladies leave you feeling that they’re as perfectly flawed as the rest of us. Join the women of @Texicanas as they, too, must navigate through the struggles that come with having children, spouses, careers, and dreams—all while still trying to maintain some semblance of sanity and look damn good while doing it.
This newest in-demand fashionista boutique is from San Antonio’s very own Miss Texas USA, Alayah Benavidez. With her mother and sister partners, Alayah created @three_bees_boutique to combine her love of fashion with her work on early literacy initiatives. Having struggled with dylsexia herself, Alayah (the queen bee), along with her mother (the boss bee) and younger sister (the honey bee), grew their vision into reality with the launch of @three_bees_boutique. Say goodbye to the guilt of splurging on yourself! A percentage of all sales from this very affordable, indie boutique go to support literacy interventions across our community. If your closet needs updating, @three_bees_boutique has what you need, from on-trend summer outfits to unique statement pieces that successfully strive to inspire your free spirit to take flight!
Now I’ll admit, I’m not really one to follow lifestyle bloggers, but I got pulled into @VanneOchoa’s feed pretty fast and furiously. This jet-setting Latina artist and fashion model offers everything from style advice and weight-loss tips to beauty secrets. It’s clear from a few minutes of pursuing her catalog of gorgeous photos that with @VanneOchoa, what you see is what you get. Her down-to-earth personality and authenticity will keep you coming back for more. @VanneOchoa originally started this adventure as a way to share her stylish outfits with friends and family, but it soon created a strong following. She started a blog at www.vanneochoa.com to share more in-depth fashion knowledge and know-how with her followers. @VanneOchoa is passionate about motivating people to explore outside their usual routines to try different experiences, whether it’s a style, travel destination, or a dish. If your Instagram feed is a bit bland these days, follow @VanneOchoa to give it some spice!
A love for exploring all things San Antonio was the impetus for beginning @satxfamily. Jill, a stay-at-home mom who is the energy behind @satxfamily and also one of our ACMB contributors, started her Instagram account to share her San Antonio adventures with friends and family. If you’re like a lot of us, hopping a plane with your six kids doesn’t quite seem palatable, and why would you want to when San Antonio has tons to offer? @satxfamily has loved getting to meet and network with other moms from areas near and far. This motivates her to keep finding local places to share with her followers that are not just kid-friendly, but affordable. As you peruse her photos of local jaunts, you’re bound to ask yourself a few times, “Is that here in San Antonio??” YES, yes it is! One thing @satxfamily loves most about San Antonio is the exposure to an array of experiences and cultures you will find without ever having to leave town.
Begin your staycation planning by giving @satxfamily a follow—your kids (and your wallet) will thank you for it!
Favorite places in San Antonio: @satxfamily loves spending time at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Here, she and her kids feed the ducks and turtles and birdwatch!
If you ever find yourself needing words of empowerment, @heymijita is just what the doctor ordered. This San Antonio stay-at-home mom shows the power of what having a dream, some hustle, and social media can do for you. She never saw this coming, but she now has an extended network of other influencers and followers who inspire and motivate her to show up with a Latina empowerment brand that surpassed her goals and expectations. @heymijita offers a line of fun and vibrant women’s items that remind us that anything is possible and that being a Latina is an added bonus!
Note to readers: @heymijita wants you to know that you are never too old to follow your dreams. She feels very blessed and grateful for all the love and acceptance that her followers have showed her along this journey. Visit her at www.heymijita.com.
I am all about people who shatter stereotypes, especially the stereotypes we hold for ourselves. As a 40-(cough)-something woman, I often feel as if aging means that I have to sacrifice style for conservative comfort. When I found @frickspicks, I found hope. She dispels any myths that dictate turning 50 means dressing or looking frumpy. No, it doesn’t mean that we should start shopping at Forever 21, but it does mean shifting our mindset. Inspired by a movement of 50-something women who believe that they are under-represented on Instagram, @frickspicks wanted to push all older women to believe that they deserve to feel beautiful and dress with as much fashion fervor as their younger counterparts. Her feed is filled with vibrant and bold outfits that are sure to inspire you, no matter your age!
Favorite place in San Antonio: @frickspicks enjoys places in San Antonio where she can people watch. From the farmer’s markets to local events, she appreciates how San Antonio always brings people together to show how different and yet alike we all really are.
As a photographer myself, I appreciate when other photographers capture much more than their subject and document the raw emotion behind the photo. @laurenmoffettphoto initially began her Instagram account to share her wedding and portrait portfolio, but it quickly turned into a platform where she could share her personal work and projects with the world. She quickly learned that sharing her work with others was an opportunity to learn and grow. This reflectiveness is palpable in her work. Buckle in as @laurenmoffettphoto, a local-based wanderlust, leads you into the places of the human condition that are not visited as often as they should be. Travel in stillness and become hypnotized by the vulnerability and timelessness of love and candor that her photos offer. You won’t want to miss where her next adventure takes you.
Favorite places in San Antonio: You can find @laurenmoffettphoto sipping a glass of wine inside the Emma Hotel, where she spends time admiring its unique blend of historical and modern architecture. She also enjoys downtime at The Cove, a local hamburger joint, and on Medina Lake.
Give these San Antonio Instagrammers a follow for some inspiration! Experiencing life in a different setting doesn’t have to mean leaving on a jet plane and not knowing when you’ll be back again. It can also mean packing up the kids and taking them on a surprise adventure (read: new place) or trying a new exotic dish that your palate isn’t used to without ever leaving your ZIP code. It can also mean getting your motivation to try that new idea you’ve always wanted to try. Do it small, do it local, do it cheap, but just do it!